Eva Smith In An Inspector Calls By J. B. Priestley

1288 Words6 Pages
An inspector calls is a play with a variety of political and social implications. J.B Priestley believed in socialism and he used extravagant amounts of his plays to convince people to his way of thinking and his views on socialism. This play was written in an era when Britain was ruled by a labour government so socialist policies were seen to be the most guaranteed option. It was a widespread way of thinking at that point in history so Priestley devised the play in this way to influence the unconvinced in society. In my opinion, Eva Smith is one of the most contextually significant characters in ‘An inspector calls’; she is a metaphor for responsibility and represents the women of the working and lower classes. In addition, her presence highlights…show more content…
The inspector radiates the impression of authority and confidence. Upon his entrance, he creates “…at once an impression of massiveness, solidity, and purposefulness.” The inspector draws attention to the tragicness of Eva Smith’s death and remains sturdy and composed while the people around him crumble and fall to pieces. Birling’s way of thinking is the concept of “Every man for himself”, Priestley’s views are best illustrated in the inspector’s final speech, where he quotes, “We don’t live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other…” . Moreover, the inspector accentuates and brings emphasis to how each of the members of the Birling family has used Eva Smith; inspector Goole shows that each character has victimised her and that each of them has a part to play and are partially responsible for her death. Then, the inspector shows us that she is a victim and describes her as “A pretty, lively sort of girl, who never did anybody any…show more content…
The name Eva is derived from the root name Eve; a biblical name often associated with the Eve of the Garden of Eden who is known to have been the first-ever female to exist. Therefore, perhaps Eva Smith may be intended as a character representative of womankind as a whole and of how they were treated during the early 20th century. Moreover, her name 'Eva' also means 'life-giving' or 'living', which is ironic within the context of the play, since 'An Inspector Calls' revolves around the investigation into her death. In contrast, her surname ‘Smith' is a very common name in England, it is also particularly similar to the generic name John Smith. As I mentioned earlier, inspector Goole is representative of Priestley’s views; so when the inspector gives the final speech it clearly addresses Priestley’s message to the audience. “there are millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths”, The number million signifies a lot, making the audience feel bad for the ‘John and Eva Smiths’ in the British population. He wants to show the audience that capitalists are unequal and cause global harm, Priestley’s aim in most of the plays he writes, is to portray the capitalists as inconsiderate and untrustworthy. Priestley wants to highlight the hypocrisy of the Birlings; "well, I was in that state when one easily turns nasty” he uses the excuse of being drunk to take advantage of Eva. It suits the themes of the play to make Eric as monstrous
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