"An Inspector CallsÃÂ by JB Priestley is a play which is set in Brumley, an industrial city in the year 1912. A rich and respected family is interrogated by an inspector about the death of a girl called Eva Smith. All the members of the family play a part towards her suicide, by doing petty and nasty things to her. The theme of social responsibility is presented throughout the play, and the problems which can occur if social responsibility is not cared about.
Birling shows the problems which can occur by not paying attention to social responsibility. He is a well respected man, but pompous, snobby and selfish. He only cares about himself and his family and thinks anyone who is not as rich and respected as him is not worth bothering about.
ÃÂA man has to make his own way ÃÂ has to look after his family too of course when he has one ÃÂ and so long as he does that he wont come to much harm.
But the way some cranks talk and write now, youÃÂd think everybody has to look after everybody else, as if we are all mixed up together like bees in a hive ÃÂ community and all that!ÃÂBirling clearly wants nothing to do with a community or society. He will only look out for himself and his family and thinks the idea of a community is silly. The consequence of his foolish attitude was the beginning of Eva Smiths bad life, which lead to her suicide. Birling sacked her from her job, because she wanted a small pay rise. He felt she gave him too much trouble, so he sacked her to get her out the way. He didnÃÂt care about her opinion either ÃÂÃÂsheÃÂd had a lot to say ÃÂ far to much so she had to goÃÂ shows that Birling thinks he is a lot more important than Eva and he doesnÃÂt care about what she has to say because she is not as respected as him. Birling is selfish and disgraceful, and when they discover that the inspector is not real, he doesnÃÂt even care about what happened and thinks the whole thing with Eva didnÃÂt matter. He learned nothing from the experience and is still the same pompous character at the end of the play. Eva Smith was driven to suicide, and Mr. Birling felt no remorse or wasnÃÂt even sorry for what he did. Mr BirlingÃÂs nasty personality and his lack of care towards social responsibility led Eva to a bad life, and she felt the only escape was death. If Birling hadnÃÂt been so pompous and had cared about society, Eva wouldnÃÂt have been driven to kill herself.
Sheila is an interesting character in the play as her personality changes throughout it. At the beginning Sheila is a nasty rich and stuck up. When Eva had lost her first job, due to Mr Birling, she eventually found another job. But Sheila, being a jealous person made her get sacked from that job, simply because of jealousy.
ÃÂWhen I was looking at myself in the mirror I caught sight of her smiling at the assistant and I was furious with herÃÂJust because Sheila thought Eva was laughing at her, she went and got her sacked again. This was very petty. She was jealous of Eva, because she was prettier than her, she thought someone as poor and not respected could not be as pretty as that. As a result of her irresponsible and sick attitude, Eva had now lost her second job and was heading to a terrible life. But when confronted by the fake inspector, we see a change in Sheila. She is sorry and regrets her actions. The older generation was only worried about their reputation but Sheila was genuinely sorry and learned a very valuable lesson that society will only function properly if everyone looks out for each other.
Gerald also highlights social responsibility in the play. Gerald finds Eva in the palace bar. He thinks her name is Daisy Renton. He took her to a hotel and they talked. After that they began having an affair. Gerald found her somewhere to stay and gave her money. It seemed like he was a hero, but really he just took pity on her, and then dumped her.
ÃÂGerald set her up as his mistress and then dropped her when it suited himÃÂThis is true, and Eva was in love with him, so it would make her feel even worse when she found out he was already engaged. By the time he dumped her, Eva had already lost two jobs and then gets dumped. This is ashame because she hasnÃÂt got a lot going for her and then Gerald dumps her.
Mrs Birling shows the consequences of social responsibility in the play. She is posh and self centered woman, who has no respect for poor people. Eva was pregnant and extremely poor, so she went to Mrs BirlingÃÂs organization for help. But she had changed her name, this time she wasnÃÂt Eva or Daisy, she was Mrs Burling. Mrs Birling took offense at this, and felt disgraced that a tramp that had got her pregnant was using the Birling name, so she turned her away. This was the final straw for Eva, as she had no job and no monkey and she had tried hard to get one but kept getting turned away and sacked. Mrs Birling wouldnÃÂt accept any blame for EvaÃÂs death.
ÃÂBut I accept n blame for it at allÃÂThis shows how selfish and stubborn Mrs Birling is. She only cared about her reputation and doesnÃÂt even think Eva is worth bothering about. She turned Eva away for a petty reason, and that was the last straw, Eva had tried to many times for help, but had finally given up and killed herself. This does not bother Mrs Birling at all, and she learns nothing and is still the same pompous woman at the end of the play as she was at the beginning.
Social responsibility is clearly shown by Eric. He finds Eva in the palace bar, and they both get drunk. Eric takes advantage of her, and forces her into sleeping with him. But Eva gets pregnant, and Eric has to steal from his fatherÃÂs office to keep her. But Eva wouldnÃÂt accept the money because it was stolen, and she wanted to protect the baby. So she went to Mrs Birling for help but when she refused Eva she killed herself. Eric feels like it is all her fault.
ÃÂShe came to you to protect me ÃÂ and you turned her away ÃÂ yes you killed her ÃÂ and the child sheÃÂd have had too ÃÂ my childÃÂThis shows Eric feels rage towards Mrs Birling and feels like it is all her fault. It isnÃÂt really if he hadnÃÂt got her pregnant then she wouldnÃÂt have needed help from Mrs Birling. But the younger generation regrets what they done, the older not.
Inspector Goole is a reminder of appropriate behaviour in the play. He is an odd sort of inspector, and he seems to no a lot, but then we discover he isnÃÂt really and inspector. Despite that, he still made Sheila and Eric change, but Mr and Mrs Birling didnÃÂt change at all. The inspector gave an important speech at the end of the play.
ÃÂBut just remember this ÃÂ their suffering and chance of happiness, all intertwined with our lives ÃÂ we donÃÂt live alone, we are members of one body, we are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will soon come when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguishÃÂThe inspector reminds us of social responsibility and that we donÃÂt live alone, that we have too look out for everyone. He uses strong words like ÃÂfireÃÂ and ÃÂbloodÃÂ, which makes his speech more dramatic. The inspector may not be a real one, but it doesnÃÂt really matter, the Birlings still did what they did, and it doesnÃÂt matter who confronted them it wont change their actions.
Overall, ÃÂAn Inspector callsÃÂ is a play about social responsibilities. Every member of the family caused the death of Eva Smith, due to there silly behaviour. I think it is a very interesting play, and I think the writer feels strongly about social responsibility, and the bad things which can happen if it is not cared about.