“An Inspector Calls” is a play set in 1912, showing an upper class family living in England. It is a relatively short play in which the prejudice views and opinions of people during that time are revealed. Each character present at the dinner table is guilty in some respect, of killing “Eva Smith”. “Gerald Croft” is the son of a well-known businessman. When he arrives at the “Birling” residence, he wastes no time in proposing to “Sheila”, who answers in the positive. He tries very hard to make a good impression on “Sheila’s'” parents. “Mr Birling” ” there’s a fair chance that I might find my way into the next Honours List. Just a knighthood of course.”
“Gerald” “Oh – I say – congratulations!” This shows how “Gerald” is trying to make sure that “Mr Birling” takes a liking to him. “Gerald” even goes to the extremes of siding with “Mr Birling” when he teases “Eric”, “Mr Birling’s” son. This illustrates that “Gerald” desperately wants to win “Sheila’s” hand in marriage. One gets the expression that his main reason for trying to this doing this is marry into the wealth and status of the Birling Family.
During the inspectors cross-examination of “Sheila” the reader finds out how “Gerald” became involved with “Eva Smith” while she used the name “Daisy Renton”. This revelation of this alternate name shocks “Gerald”. The inspector goes onto to interrogate “Gerald”, and exposes that “Gerald” had an adulteress affair with the woman. “Gerald” does not deny this and admits all, even in front of his own fiancï¿½e. I find this honourable. I don’t feel it is right but I think that Gerald deserves some credit and sympathy. This is because he then goes on to say how he fell in love with “Daisy”. He shows genuine compassion- “Sorry- I – well, I’ve suddenly realised – taken it in properly – that she is dead.
He explains how he took proper care of her at a time when she was penniless. He emphasises that he did not demand anything sexual from the relationship, but their relationship turning romantic was inevitable. I also this is very honest. “Sheila” recognises this – “That’s probably about the best thing you’ve said tonight. At least its honest.” I do not feel that “Gerald” held any major responsibility for the death of “Eva”. He admits his mistake in having an affair, but also divulges how he was taken aback by her beauty. The pair parted on neutral terms and Gerald made sure that she would be safe after they split. I feel a lot of sympathy for “Gerald”. He loved “Eva” and must have found it hard to lose her, even after such a long period apart.
After accepting a marriage proposal from Gerald, Sheila is extremely happy and in high spirits. However after her encounter with the inspector, her mood dramatically changes. She reacts in a way very unlike the rest of her family. The reader gets an idea of “Sheila’s” attitude before she is told about “Eva”. After finding out about that women of her kind are known as “cheap labour”, she says- “But these girls aren’t cheap labour – they’re people” This is a very different attitude to her parents. She shows frank concern for another person, a person she does not even know and who is of a lower social class. This would be unheard of in many upper class homes such as the “Birlings”. This is a different outlook and for many upper class people during that time, the incorrect way to think. This shows “Sheila’s” innocence and admirable beliefs. She can be seen as a naï¿½ve and young character but I do not believe she is naï¿½ve, I think she is completely correct.
When “Sheila” realises that she was responsible for “Eva’s” dismissal from “Milwards” after she is shown a photo by the inspector she immediately breaks down. She knows her mistake and feel genuine guilt. Instead of denying responsibility she admits that jealousy was her main motive for getting “Eva” fired. I think it is noble to admit jealousy. She graciously admits her involvement and I believe that she feels over-responsible. I feel some sympathy for “Eva” because she feels remorseful and is sent into hysterics after realising the harsh truth- “She’s Dead”. I feel a different sort of sympathy to that I felt for Gerald. This is because she had no relationship with the woman, but after finding out she has passed away she regrets her selfish actions and cannot handle her guilt.
“Oh – why had this to happen”. I feel that this quotation sums up “Sheila’s attitude and frame of mind. “Sheila” realises that getting “Eva” sacked from “Milwards” was abusing the power she had. She has learnt her lesson in the worst possible way. “Arthur Birling” sees himself as an esteemed member of his community. He believes in “rugged individualism”, meaning that a person should strive to be the best, regardless of who he leaves behind. He does not have any real care for other human beings that are not involved in his life.
“…a man has to make his way – has to look after himself – and his family too, of course, when he has one and so long as he does that he won’t come to much harm…” This quote shows how his blind attitude. I do not believe that he is completely at fault for his blatant ignorance is. Society in general during the early 1900’s saw this as the only way of living. Growing up surrounded with this attitude would make a person believe it is entirely correct. This is why I do not blame “Mr Birling” fully for the way he acts. His initial behaviour started the chain reaction of events, which eventually lead to the death of “Eva”. He fired “Eva” from his factory after a dispute over pay. During his questioning the inspector reveals how he could have started the ordeal involving “Eva” to his, he answers- “…I can’t accept any responsibility. If we were all responsible for everything that happened to everyone we’d had anything to do with, it would be very awkward, wouldn’t it?”