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J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls Essay

1280 words - 6 pages

J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls

A man who claims to be an Inspector turning up on the front door of a
new order family is something you don’t often hear about. He turns up
and interrogates the Birling’s about the suicide of Eva Smith to try
and convince them to confess to their deeds.

He is a man of mystery without a doubt. When he first begins to
interrogate Mr Birling, he cuts straight to the point of Eva Smith. He
exaggerates a lot of the things that happened to her to make them
sound worse than they actually are.

He arrived at the Birling’s house because he wanted to try and get
them to admit ...view middle of the document...

When the Inspector
begins to interrogate him, he admits to everything that happened but
refuses to accept any responsibility with her suicide. “I can’t accept
any responsibility” and “I only did what any employer might have done”
show that he won’t take any of the blame for his actions. Towards the
end of the play he is still refusing to take any blame and puts the
blame onto his son Eric. “I was almost certain for a knighthood” shows
that he believes he might of lost his image and is giving the idea
that he is blaming others but not himself like when he quotes “Why you
all had to go letting everything come out like that beats me.” During
the play he argues back against the inspector, showing no respect at
all for him.

As for Mrs Birling she isn’t much different. She is very old fashioned
and comes from a socially superior family. She works at the charity
organisation where she refused Eva Smith’s claim. Mrs Birling looks
down very much on people of Eva Smith’s standards which gives readers
the idea that she is very snobby. Like Mr Birling she also takes no
responsibility for Eva’s suicide, “I’m sorry she came to such a
horrible end. But I accept no blame for it at all, go and look for the
father it’s his responsibility” She always backs up what her husband
says and stands up for him.

Sheila Birling on the other hand is very different to her parents. She
got Eva sacked from her job because she accused Eva of laughing at her
whilst trying on a dress. She believes strongly in women’s rights and
is realistic for the future unlike her father. She tends to get into a
lot of arguments with her family because she has very strong opinions.
When the Inspector interrogates Sheila her response is very different
to her parents. She tells the entire truth and deeply regrets her
actions: “I felt rotten about it and now I feel a lot worse” shows
that she does feel responsible for Eva Smith’s suicide and doesn’t
blame any one else. She loses her temper towards the end because of
the attitude of her parents. “I behaved badly, too. I know I did. I’m
ashamed of myself. But now you’re beginning all over again to pretend
that nothing much has happened”. Towards the end of the play, like
everyone else she doubts whether the inspector was real or not, but it
doesn’t change her guilt.

As for Eric Birling he is rather like his sister in some ways. He was
the man responsible for Eva being...

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