Discuss the guilt of each member of the family. What is the Inspector’s role? Arthur Birling: Talks at people not to people “I don’t often make speeches at you.” self-made man and accidentally show’s his past “Arthur, your not supposed to say such things.” hypocrite, unsympathetic to those less fortunate. Underpaid workers, they wanted “twenty-five shillings a week” 2.99 more than they already “averaged.” Mr Birling refused because “its my duty to keep labour costs down… we’d have added twelve per cent to labour costs.
They went on strike. Sacked Eva Smith for being “one of” “four or five ring leaders.” “She had a lot to say – far too much – she had to go.” His excuse is “If you don’t come down sharply on some of these people, they’d soon be asking the earth.” Mr Birling starts the domino effect rolling; because of his action, she has to find a new employment, which brings her into contact with Sheila.
[Eva: working class martyr?]
Sheila: her and Gerald’s relationship in slight turmoil; “Yes, that’s what you say.” Acts immaturely but lets out that she knows more than she is showing “Yes, go on mummy.” “Your squiffy.” Sheila is the first to show emotion “Oh – how horrible!” “But these girls aren’t cheap labour – they’re people.” First, to realise her responsibilities “So I’m really responsible?” First, to realise the truth about the inspector; “he knows. Of course he knows.” Sheila got Eva sacked from “Milwards” because she was in a “furious temper” and when asked if it was the girls fault she answers; “No, not really.
It was my own fault.” The reason for her rage was she “tried something on” and it “just didn’t suite *me at all.” In addition, after her rage she “caught sight of her smiling at the assistant.” When asked if she had been “jealous of her” she answers, “Yes, I suppose so.” Due to Sheila’s interference, Eva’s last chance at a better life is ruined.
Gerald: Knew Eva as Daisy Renton. He met her “in the stalls bar at the palace.” He went there, as “It’s a favourite haunt of woman of the town.” He was drawn to Eva / Daisy as “She was very pretty – soft brown hair and big dark eyes.” He came to her to answer her “cry for help.” She became his mistress; he was her “wonderful Fairy Prince.” Gerald then “broke it off definitely” and “She had to move out of those rooms.” Although Sheila so far played the most important role in Eva’s / Daisy’s suicide, Gerald by giving her false hope and using her, when it all ended it must have made her life less bearable.
Eric: Eric is an alcoholic, with “familiarity with quick heavy drinking.” Eric also met her “In the Palace Bar.” He “was a bit squiffy.” Daisy was drunk “a bit, chiefly because she’d not had not much to eat that day.” Eric “insisted” to go “with her to her lodgings” and he “threatened to make a row.” They “made love again.” She told Eric “she thought she was going to have a baby. She wasn’t quite sure. And then she was.” Eric “was in a hell of a state about it.” Daisy didn’t want Eric “to marry her” and said he “didn’t love her.” Daisy “refused to take any more” money because he stole it, but he “intended to pay it back.” Eric roundabouts the blame slightly back to his father because he’s “not the kind of father a chap could go to when he’s in trouble.” Eric plays the last true important role in Daises demise, getting her into the condition she could not cope with without help; he took her to the point of no return.
Mrs Birling: She forces more of the blame on Eric as she said that Daisy should “make him responsible.” Mrs Birling is very anti-lower-class, having “scruples that were simply absurd in a girl of her position.” Meaning that those less off should have no rights. Because she didn’t believe her story, Mrs Birling felt “perfectly justified in advising my committee not to allow her claim for assistance.” Mrs Birling continues to pass the blame “First, the girl herself.” “Secondly, I blame the young man who was the father of the child she was going to have.” Mrs Birling was “prejudiced… against her case” because Eva / Daisy used the name of “Mrs Birling” Knowing the fact about Eric we now know this was justified usage of the Birling name. Mrs Birling was the sole sentence to death and executioner, by removing Eva’s rights based on prejudices, Mrs Birling left Eva with only one way out….
The Inspector: Named Inspector “Goole.” This is a possible wordplay on the word “ghoul.” After they phone up the “Chief inspector” and the Infirmary, they found that “There’s no Inspector Goole on the police” and that the infirmary had not “had a suicide for months.” After some celebration on the part of the family, they receive a phone call from the infirmary, “A girl has just died – on her way to the infirmary – after swallowing some disinfectant. And a police inspector is on his way here – to ask some – questions -” Mr Goole played the role of family conscience, bringing everything that the family was and should be ashamed of to light “Each of you helped to kill her. Remember that. Never forget it.” Like Eva / Daisy, Inspector Goole remains a mystery.