Responsibility for Death in An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley

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Responsibility for Death in An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley The suicide of a working class girl, Eva Smith, under suspicious circumstances, brings to light the involvement of each character and the extent of their influence over the life of Eva Smith. In the play 'An Inspector Calls' the Birling family and Gerald Croft are interrogated by an inspector who reveals that they all abuse their power and position in upper class Edwardian society. At the start of the play the family are having dinner, celebrating the engagement of Sheila and Gerald. The mood is easy and there is much gaiety for the family, until a police inspector arrives. He soon reveals seedy details from their past with his…show more content…
It can be said that he does not have much regard for the welfare of his workers and the amount of pay they receive. At the announcement of his daughter Sheila's engagement to Gerald, his first thoughts turn straight to business. "Crofts limited are both older and bigger than Birling and company - and now you've brought us together, and perhaps we may look forward to the time when Crofts and Birlings are no longer competing but are working together - for lower costs and higher prices" (p.4). Mr Birling sees his daughter's engagement as a business opportunity. He is pleased that his daughter is marrying into a good family such as the Crofts and shows this when he says to Gerald, her fiancé, "you're just the kind of son-in-law I always wanted" (p.4). Mr Birling is obsessed with class and his own position in society. He frequently reminds the others of his previous position as Lord Mayor, as well as other titles he has held in the past. Eva Smith was an employee at Birling and Company, a leader operator of a small group of girls. She received twenty-two and six (shillings) a week and wanted this raised to twenty-five, so she and some other girls went on strike. Because Eva was seen as the 'ring leader' of the girls she was sacked. When the inspector first asks Mr Birling whether he knew an Eva Smith, Mr Birling only admits that the name is familiar to him. He
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