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"An Inspector Calls" Who Was Most Responsible For The Death Of Eva Smith?

1153 words - 5 pages

Although JB Priestley wrote the play in 1946, it was set in 1910. 'An inspector Calls' is a morality play which reflects the social and industrial unrest of the time. Priestley was a socialist living in a capitalist society. He felt very strongly about this and wrote the play to get people to change. He believed that Britain needed a socialist government to lead it into post-war reconstruction. It is clear from the play that the poor were treated very badly by the rich.Priestly believed in equality and wanted social justice where the rich take responsibility for their actions and for those less well off. He used the Birling family and their victimization of Eva Smith to illustrate his message.Sheila Birling also played a big role in the death of Eva Smith. She was immature used to getting her own way, "I insisted." Sheila is a stubborn bad tempered character as she shows when she says, "I was in a furious temper." In Milwards shop Eva is asked to model the dress Sheila wanted to buy. Sheila was jealous of Eva because of her looks and the fact the dress suited to Eva better than herself. She imagined that Eva was laughing and was furious at Eva and demanded the manager to sack her, "I told him if he did not get rid of that girl, I'd never go near the place again and I'd persuade mother to close our account with them." Like her father. Sheila uses her power and wealth against Eva. She knows she can use this to get what she wants because rich families like the Birlings can put pressure on shops like Milwards. After the event Sheila thinks about her actions and regrets them but at the time did not care what happened to Eva. "If she'd been some miserable plain creature, I don't suppose I'd have done it." She matures as the play progresses. She is very 'stressed' by her mothers refusal to take responsibility "Now, mother don't you see?" her broken language shows how upset she is by Eva's death and her families guilt.I think Mrs. Birling more to blame than Sheila for the death of Eva Smith. Her actions during and after the event are prejudice and snobbish. She acts selfishly towards others; we can see her snobbish character when she says, "Girls of that sort." Mrs. Birling is judgmental and looks down on the lower class, "As if a girl of that sort would ever refuse money." She believed Eva has moral values just because she was poor; only the rich had moral values and therefore the right to decide who is entitles to charity. She thinks the poor should have the right attitude if they are to deserve money. She believed in 'helping deserving cases.'When Eva needed help the most she turned to Mrs. Birling's charity. 'She was alone, friendless, almost penniless, desperate.' Eva used the Birling's name when she inquired at the charity, "Yes I think it was a simple piece of gross impertinence." This suggests that Mrs. Birling was not respectful enough.Mrs. Birling was disgusted at this, "I wasn't satisfied with the girls claim so I used my influence to have it...

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