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An Inspector Calls Responsibility Theme Essay

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“An Inspector Calls” by J.B Priestley is a play in which I have recently read which is about the characters are given the chance to become better people. The theme of this play is social and personal responsibility. Social responsibility means that you have a responsibility to help people in need. Personal responsibility means that you have a responsibility to yourself and your family. “An Inspector Calls” is set in the fictional town of Bromley.

It starts in the Birling house where the Birling family are celebrating the engagement of Sheila Birling and Gerald Croft. While celebrating the Birling family is very pleased with them particularly Mr Birling because Gerald’s father owns a company like his so he is pleased because he will be able to go in to business together. Then mysterious Inspector Goole comes asking questions about a pregnant woman who killed herself by drinking strong disinfectant. After asking a lot questions, the Birling family realise that they all knew the girl and may have contributed to her death. Mr Birling the smug father and hard- headed businessman fired her because she wanted more money.

His daughter Sheila had her fired from her new job she was jealous of her. Then Gerald Croft who is engaged to be married to Sheila learned he used her for his own pleasure then left her when he didn’t want her anymore. Eric, the brother of Sheila also used Eva in this way. He got her pregnant and left her desperate for help from his mother who turned her away. Once the Inspector leaves the Birling family find out that the Inspector was lieing there had been no death that day and he was not an Inspector. Then the phone rings confirming her death.

In the play a number of characters are shown that their actions have had a distractive effect on Eva Smith. The Inspector makes tem realise this and they are given a chance it change their ways and realize the consequences their actions have. These characters are Mr Birling, Sheila and Eric. Only two characters, Shelia and Eric, learn by their mistakes because they are young and know that their actions affect others. But Mr Birling does not know or does not want to realize that his actions affect others. Also because he is arrogant and narrow-minded and happy in his own little world.

Mr Birling was given a chance to learn by his mistakes but did not. He fired Eva Smith because she was a very good worker who wanted more money. Even though she was in the right to ask for more money without having to get fired Mr Birling though he was in the right and all the way through the questions he never once should that he felt sorry for what he a had done. Mr Birling showed he was not hurt by what he did to Eva Smith because he said “Right, Gerald.

They mostly were. And so was the strike, after a week or two, pitiful affair. Well, we let them all come back at the old rates except the four or five ring leaders, who’d started the trouble. I went down myself and told them to clear out. And this girl, Eva Smith, was one of them. She’d had a lot to say, far too much, so she had to go” this shows that he is cold hearted and doesn’t care about anyone but his family.

Sheila Birling was also given a chance to learn for her mistakes and unlike her father she did. Sheila is different to her mum and dad because she is not as formal like them. Eva got fired from her new job after Mr Birling fired her, at a very good clothes shop where Sheila goes shopping. Sheila said “I went in to try something on. It was an idea of own mother had been against it, and so had the assistant but I insisted.” When she did she knew they were right and when she saw Eva smiling she went to the manager and told him “if they didn’t get rid of that girl, I’d never go near the place again and I’d persuade mother to close our account with them. Once she realize what she had done to Eva she felt sorry and hurt that she could do that to someone who had nothing. This reveals a selfish side to her nature.

Eric Birling also learned for his mistake because he got Eva pregnant and said he didn’t want to marry her but he would give her money, in which he stole from his dad’s office, to her and the unborn child. Eric met Eva at a bar where he was drunk and most times when he was with her he was drunk which show he is likes a drink, depends on drink and lacks self control. Also he uses Eva for his own selfish purposes.

Once they realize that the man was not Inspector, Gerald and Mr Birling said ‘there might have been five different girls no one knows’. Eric says “what’s the use talking about behaving sensibly. You’re beginning to pretend now that nothing’s really happened at all. And I can’t see it like that. This girl’s still dead, isn’t she? Nobody brought her back to life, have they?” This shows Eric is still feeling very sorry for what he may have done and still believes she is dead. “An Inspector Calls” by J.B. Priestley is a play in which the characters are given a chance t become better people. Two out of three did become better people, Sheila and Eric, but one, Mr Birling, refused to believe he was not at fault. The theme of social personal responsibility.

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An Inspector Calls Responsibility Theme Essay. (2017, Oct 25). Retrieved from

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