"An Inspector Calls" by John Boynton Priestley

I think that not only the conscience of the family, but sin is a part of the Inspector. The pun on the name “Goole” could be a sign to hint the evil. Throughout the play, signs of iniquity and the devil come up, for example, the Seven Deadly Sins. At least each member of the family had been corrupted by any one or more if these sins. Therefore, the one making the most errors is the most responsible for the death of Eva Smith.

Foremost, Mr Birling is full of pride. He was trying to prevent the spiteful Inspector bad-mouthing his family.

He also believed that his position in the community would be tarnished and his awaiting knighthood be refused. He wanted to protect his family from the reality of the media. Arthur was also quite slothful as he could not be bothered to fight the rebellion fronted by Eva Smith. He took the easiest route to solve the problem: discharging Eva.

His anger and impatience was shown when he replied to the harsh tone of the inspector by saying “Look – there’s nothing mysterious about this business! ” Mr Birling is very rude and adamant about the fact that he is always right.

This is clearly revealed in his speech in Act One where he says that the “Titanic is absolutely unsinkable”, this accusation failed when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage, and that the prospect of war is nearly impossible because 1914 saw the start of World War Two. He also tries to show his malevolence and disgust towards the socialists Bernard Shaws and H.

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G. Wells. This perhaps depicts the stereotypical Edwardian arrogance. However, he only wants to shield his family from what’s really out there. Mrs Sybil Birling is very like her husband, except that she is his “social superior”.

She conveys pride by dismissing Eva just because she used the name “Mrs Birling” as alibi to her real name. Sybil is also short-fused because she judges Eva without letting her have a fair trial. Surrounding the trail, Sybil Birling was too lazy to listen to the trial and what Eva had to say to make amends for her previous mistakes. She is also stubborn and unwilling to accept the truth until she finally breaks down at the being of Act Three. Mrs Birling is also used being pampered and harboured from the facts in life.

Sheila Birling portrays immense envy when she knows that Eva has every that she hasn’t to make that dress suit her. This is also an example of covetousness. Pride fuelled her anger and therefore made her make a portentous threat to the manager of Milwards (“I’ll get mother to close her account if she doesn’t go). Though Sheila tries hard to redeem herself by feeling upset, guilty and understanding the extent of her problem, she is run by pure jealousy when she tried to get rid of Eva Smith. Eric Birling has been possessed by one too many of the sins, primarily gluttony.

He is a heavy drinker and picks up the “girls of the town” at the Palace Bar. He is also very lustful because he’s not in love with Eva, but just wants to make love with Eva. By bottling up his feelings and not talking to his father about his problems, Eric implies that he is hot-tempered and angry. Eric resorts to stealing, as he feels pressured to go into the family business and can’t spend quality time with his family. Though Mr Birling suggests that “Eric has been spoilt”, Eric knows that his father is being hypocritical as it is Arthur himself who has spoilt his own son.

When he is forced to face the truth by a quick-witted Sheila, he denies everything and tries to pass the blame onto someone else. His comprehension of the situation and subdued aftermath to the evening suggests that his actions have been affected by his heavy drinking throughout the night’s festivities. Even though Eric says he wants to help, every decision he makes has resulted in a bitter consequence of his own perpetual representations. Finally, Gerald Croft is the only one who has been able to make Eva Smith/Daisy Renton happy amidst the destruction.

Nevertheless, he was also driven by lust because he lingers on his thoughts of her and yet he didn’t “feel about her as she felt about him. ” Gerald is also trying very hard to impress his father-in-law by supporting Arthur and allowing him to drop names (“This is Mr Gerald Croft – the son of Sir George Croft – you know, Crofts Limited. “) Originally I felt that Mr and Mrs Birling were the most responsible for the death of Eva smith because Arthur triggered the chain events, which were to be concluded by Sybil.

However, after deliberating over who depicted the most sin, I feel that Eric Birling is the most responsible for the death Eva Smith because everything he did was driven by sin and to solve his problems, he dug himself into a deeper hole by allowing the sins to use his body as a vessel to carry out the bad deeds. I also believe that he spends most of his time in a constant state of drunkenness and therefore what he says may not be what he feels or intends to say.

After Eric, I think Sheila is the most responsible for the death of Eva Smith because she over exaggerates her guilt and all her actions were invigorated by anger or jealousy. Next come Mr and Mrs Birling because they both had reasons apart form sin, to discharge Eva. They wanted to guard the family name and status. Lastly, I think that Gerald Croft is the most responsible for the death of Eva Smith, as he tried to make her believe in herself by giving her a job and a home. Therefore, Eric is more guilty that any other Birling family member or Gerald Croft.

Overall, it appears to me that Inspector Goole is the devil and the Birlings are his minions. They take place in this world as mortals, to show what the world is becoming. I think that J. B. Priestley has a socialist view on life and he has tried to communicate that message to the public through his play: ‘An Inspector Calls.

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"An Inspector Calls" by John Boynton Priestley. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-responsible-death-eva-smith/

"An Inspector Calls" by John Boynton Priestley
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