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All the characters in J.B. Priestley’s play apart from the Inspector played a part in Eva Smith/Daisy Renton’s life and contributed to her death Essay

All the characters in J. B. Priestley’s play apart from the Inspector and Edna played a part in Eva Smith/Daisy Renton’s life and contributed to her death. Some characters played larger parts in the life of Eva Smith than others. For example, Gerald played a larger part in the life of Eva Smith than Mr Birling because he knew her personally for a much longer period of time. Even so, I believe that the parts the characters played in Eva Smith’s life were just as important as each other. This is because all of their actions formed a chain of events.

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Like a chain reaction each part one character played put into motion the part another character would play. So without one single contribution from a character the whole chain would breakdown. For example, if Mr Birling hadn’t have sacked Eva Smith, then she wouldn’t have looked for a job in the clothes shop. This then would mean of course that Sheila would never have seen Eva Smith and got her the sack. In this piece of coursework I will look at the parts Gerald and Sheila played in the life and death of Eva Smith. The part Sheila played as I have already described was an equally important role than any other of the characters in J.

B. Priestley’s play. But the parts Gerald and her played in the life of Eva Smith were different. Gerald had a long, intimate and personal relationship with her. Sheila on the other hand had an informal, short and unpleasant relationship with Eva Smith. This is one of the reasons I have picked these two characters to compare because they had totally different experiences with Eva Smith. After the Inspector has finished questioning Mr Birling, he moves onto Sheila. It becomes clear that Sheila became acquainted with Eva Smith when she was shopping for clothes. Eva Smith was working in the shop. She was taken on in a shop – and a good shop too – Milwards… ”

The Inspector. P. 20, Act One. After seeing a picture of Eva Smith, Sheila goes on to describe how she got Eva Smith sacked from her job at Milwards. To understand fully the effect Sheila’s actions had on the life of Eva Smith, we have to look at what position Eva Smith’s life was in at the time. Working in the clothes shop Milwards, would have been a great position for Eva Smith to be in. The work would have been less taxing on the body and in general a lot more pleasant than working in a factory.

I believe that the wage Eva Smith would have received would have been greater than that of the factory. This is because the job required the worker to be clean and healthy. Something I believe would not have been possible on a factory’s wage. Sheila’s own reaction shows how much of a good job it would have been. “Yes, she was lucky to get taken on at Milwards…” P. 20, Act One. From this I think it’s safe to say that Sheila’s actions would have had a massive impact on the life of Eva Smith. The job Sheila got her the sack from was her last steady job.

She had no parents and therefore no support in her life. She was on her own. “Both her parents were dead …” The Inspector. P. 19, Act One. Throughout the play we see many different sides of Sheila’s personality. At the start of the play she acts normal for a girl who has recently got engaged. She is playful, excited but also selfish as she is enjoying the attention the news of the engagement brings her. She uses words like “mummy”. This shows us how childish and protected she is even though she is around twenty. We see another normal side of her when she finds out about the death of Eva Smith.

She seems upset and interested in the girl’s death even though she has no idea of her involvement. Later on in the play we see a complete reversal of the personality she had showed before. She acts like an adult taking responsibility for her part in the death of Eva Smith. However the part she played in Eva Smith’s life shows us how she can easily become jealous and take out her general anger on someone innocent. This shows us how self-centred and vain she is. On the other hand Gerald played a different part in the life of Eva Smith. Although by the time Gerald met her she was using a different name, “Daisy Renton”.

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At the beginning of Act Two it becomes clear that Gerald did know a Daisy Renton. The way he describes her is interesting, he does it in such a way that it could lead you to believe he was still in love with her. “She was very pretty – soft brown hair and big dark eyes…” “She looked young and fresh and charming…” Both quotes are on P. 35 in Act Two. On the other hand I believe that he is trying to justify his later actions by describing how appealing she was. In the hope that Sheila will forgive him and the other characters will understand better.

Gerald goes on to explain how he talked to Eva Smith and got to know a little about her. He goes on to describe how Eva Smith “hadn’t a penny” and was going to be thrown out of her accommodation. So Gerald put her up in one of his friend’s flats who was out of town. He also gave her some money to “keep her going there”. By doing this Gerald showed Eva Smith some compassion and was the only character to do so. Gerald’s part up to now was a positive one in Eva Smith’s life. Speaking about Eva Smith Gerald says, “She told me she’d been happier than she’d ever been before…” on at Milwards…” P. 20, Act One.

From this I think it’s safe to say that Sheila’s actions would have had a massive impact on the life of Eva Smith. The job Sheila got her the sack from was her last steady job. She had no parents and therefore no support in her life. She was on her own. “Both her parents were dead …” The Inspector. P. 19, Act One. Throughout the play we see many different sides of Sheila’s personality. At the start of the play she acts normal for a girl who has recently got engaged. She is playful, excited but also selfish as she is enjoying the attention the news of the engagement brings her. She uses words like “mummy”.

This shows us how childish and protected she is even though she is around twenty. We see another normal side of her when she finds out about the death of Eva Smith. She seems upset and interested in the girl’s death even though she has no idea of her involvement. Later on in the play we see a complete reversal of the personality she had showed before. She acts like an adult taking responsibility for her part in the death of Eva Smith. However the part she played in Eva Smith’s life shows us how she can easily become jealous and take out her general anger on someone innocent. This shows us how self-centred and vain she is.

On the other hand Gerald played a different part in the life of Eva Smith. Although by the time Gerald met her she was using a different name, “Daisy Renton”. At the beginning of Act Two it becomes clear that Gerald did know a Daisy Renton. The way he describes her is interesting, he does it in such a way that it could lead you to believe he was still in love with her. “She was very pretty – soft brown hair and big dark eyes…” “She looked young and fresh and charming…” Both quotes are on P. 35 in Act Two. On the other hand I believe that he is trying to justify his later actions by describing how appealing she was.

In the hope that Sheila will forgive him and the other characters will understand better. Gerald goes on to explain how he talked to Eva Smith and got to know a little about her. He goes on to describe how Eva Smith “hadn’t a penny” and was going to be thrown out of her accommodation. So Gerald put her up in one of his friend’s flats who was out of town. He also gave her some money to “keep her going there”. By doing this Gerald showed Eva Smith some compassion and was the only character to do so. Gerald’s part up to now was a positive one in Eva Smith’s life. Speaking about Eva Smith Gerald says, She told me she’d been happier than she’d ever been before…” not find any implications that J. B Priestley was a Christian.

However the play does seem to highlight some Christian teachings. For example, the belief that we all should be prepared to take responsibility for or own actions. Only then can we repent and learn from them. Mr Birling is not prepared to do this. On page fourteen, Act One he says, “Still I can’t accept any responsibility…” Later in Act Three, Gerald persuades them that they all had different involvements with other people. Mr Birling, Mrs Birling and he are willing to forget and move on from the night’s events.

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This shows that they only felt sorry for the girl because they thought they would get into trouble. When they found out that they would not they were willing to go on living their life’s without change. Therefore without improvement e. g. Mr Birling would continue to exploit his workers etc. I believe J. B. Priestley used this to show how we should have learnt form the First World War but didn’t. He fought in the First World War and saw its atrocities. The play shows how quickly people can forget pain. The belief that we are all responsible for each other and should help each other out is also put forward in the play.

This again is very close to Christian beliefs. He shows how some people or most people in the play are unable to do this because of their selfishness and ignorance to others. I believe that J. B Priestley shows the attitude of the upper class of the time through Mr Birling. He adopts the attitude of “I’m alright Jack”. His attitude is shown at the beginning of the play on page ten. He is giving advice to Eric and Gerald on how they should go about their lives. “…that a man has to look after his own business and look after himself and his own…”

This shows that he is not willing to take responsibility for others. Mr Birling is not prepared to help out his workers when they ask for more money. He is a rich man. He has a maid, “Edna”. The scene is set with “champagne glasses”, a “decanter of port” and “cigarettes”. The characters are wearing smart evening dress. These are all things you would associate rich people of the time with. Mr Birling was allowed to make so much money as a result of cheap labour. He took advantage of the fact that unemployment was high at the time and exploited his workers’ need for a job.

It is a fact that many factory owners did exactly the same thing and I believe the play shows how wrong this really was. This gives the audience a very strong social message. We are shown how all of the characters abused their social standings and power to get what they wanted. The play has the effect of making its audience look inside themselves to see if they are in anyway like Mr Birling or the other characters. The Inspector plays a very important part in the play. You could say that he is the key to the whole thing as the play couldn’t go on without him.

Therefore he is the most important character in the play. I believe J. B Priestley makes the Inspector the focal point of the whole play. His achieves this by giving him certain actions and in the things he says. For example, on page twelve, act one the Inspector dominates what is being said, “cutting through massively I’ve been round to the room she had, and she’d left a letter and a sort of diary… He interrupts Mr Birling who up to now appeared to be the dominating figure in the room. By doing this he has stamped his authority on Mr Birling and showed that he can’t be intimidated by his social power.

This is also an example of the way the Inspector goes about his questioning. He is very good at extracting information from the rest of the characters. He manipulates the conversation in-order to find out only the information he wishes to find out. Here Mr Birling would have gone on to say something that doesn’t interest the Inspector and so he stops him before he has chance to do so. The Inspector also allows other characters to put pressure on the one undergoing questioning. For example he allows Sheila to apply pressure onto Gerald while he is being questioned.

When the Inspector asks Gerald if he was “In love with her”. Sheila applies more pressure onto Gerald answer by saying, “Just what I was going to ask! ” P. 37, Act Two. The Inspector isn’t there to convict any of the characters. He is there simply to make them realise what they have done. Perhaps in the hope that they will change their ways. This is something I have discussed as one of the themes of the play. That people realise their mistakes and changed for the better. The First and Second World Wars are examples of not doing this. Failing to prevent a Second World War cost many people their lives. By Lee Haywood.

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All the characters in J.B. Priestley's play apart from the Inspector played a part in Eva Smith/Daisy Renton's life and contributed to her death Essay
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All the characters in J. B. Priestley's play apart from the Inspector and Edna played a part in Eva Smith/Daisy Renton's life and contributed to her death. Some characters played larger parts in the life of Eva Smith than others. For example, Gerald played a larger part in the life of Eva Smith than Mr Birling because he knew her personally for a much longer period of time. Even so, I believe that the parts the characters played in Eva Smith's life were just as important as each other. This is b
2018-05-25 12:04:58
All the characters in J.B. Priestley's play apart from the Inspector played a part in Eva Smith/Daisy Renton's life and contributed to her death Essay
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