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    Gerald’s involvement Essay (1428 words)

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    Act Two begins where act one drew to a close; the inspector does not take long to establish Gerald’s involvement, at this point there is no need to show him the photograph for as soon as the name ‘Daisy Renton’ is mention the atmosphere between Gerald and Sheila is that of regret and betrayal; tension mounts and the two exit the room and discuss the movements of Gerald during the spring of the year previously. Gerald touches a nerve as he comments, “Now listen, darling -“; he does not wish Sheila to acknowledge the affaire. Sheila is quick to reply “No, That’s no use. You not only knew her but you knew her very well.

    Otherwise, you wouldn’t look so guilty about it. When did you first get to know her?” It becomes apparent that Sheila no longer wishes to continue their engagement; she is inquisitive and asks questions. The inspector subsequently begins to piece together the life of Eva Smith between the times of her exit from Milwards and that night in the infirmary. Sheila tries to warn her mother about the consequences of not cooperating or saying too much in her defence.

    Mrs. Birling is over-confident and ignorant towards the inspectors knowledge of the sequence of events. Mrs. Birling proves mostly confident and arrogant when preaching; “I’m talking to the inspector now, if you don’t mind. I realise that you may have to conduct some sort of inquiry, but I must say that so far you seem to be conducting it in a rather peculiar and offensive manner. You know that my husband was Lord Mayor only two years ago and that he’s still a magistrate -“.

    Act three is the final act and is the last line of inquiry. The inspector is very much aware that Eric is an alcoholic and overrules Mr. Birling when Eric takes a drink. The manner in which the inspector obtains Eric’s story is unusual in that the inspector does not question Eric but allows the Birling family to do that for him; Inspector; “he needs a drink now, just to see him through” Mr. Birling then ushers his son along simply to get the family’s ordeal over and done with “All right go on I understand a lot of things now I didn’t understand before”. Now Eric tells his story: He met Eva Smith in the Palace bar and when he was a little ‘squiffy’, he compelled her to take him into her lodging. After this evening he sometimes met her and when she told him about the baby, Eric wanted to give her money, which he had stolen from his father’s office but she didn’t want to receive it.

    The inspector makes a comment relating to the family “adjusting their relationships” after he has gone. He then exits with the key speech “One Eva Smith has gone-but there are millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with us, with their lives, their hopes and fears, their sufferings and a chance of happiness, all intertwined with our lives, and what we think an say and do. We do not live alone. We are all 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 in it fire and blood and anguish. Good night.”

    The last speech is left engraved in the minds as well as hearts of Eric and Sheila along with the audience, whereas Mr and Mrs. Birling are left untouched by the message and laugh at the thought of the hoax investigation. After the inspector has left the house, Mr. Birling makes Gerald responsible that he cannot get a knighthood now. Also Mrs. Birling looks at all these things from the social point of view. This prophetic speech allows the audience to fully appreciate Priestley’s perspective on life and enables the Inspector to conclude his opinions through a threatening yet subtle way.

    The inspector’s abnormality is once again aroused when the phone call relating to a girl’s death at the infirmary occurs. The inspector’s line of enquiry is unusual as he only shows the photograph “to one person at a time”; this could cast a shadow as to the authenticity of Goole as people subconsciously will analyse this and question whether the photograph was actually the same one or whether it was a series of different photographs. In my opinion, Priestley was trying to articulate that it didn’t matter who was in the photo because they all admitted to harming at least one person’s life throughout the last two years.

    I assume that the Birling family also questions this upon the arrival of Gerald who confirms that the inspector was a fake. The inspector uses emotive language such as “great agony” and “she had been very pretty”. This is because Priestley wants to purvey just how much pain, mentally or physically, you can put a person through by just one small encounter with them in your life. The inspector is very authoritative and seems to know a lot about the young girl’s life and yet the family do not think to question him. His questions are well thought out, almost as if he had repeated them several times over and this was the impact on which the family acted.

    The inspector has the power to cut down to the bone, kill the nerves, unsteady and chill the other characters. He also shows his authority through his ability to interrupt and shorten Mr. Birling’s speeches. For example Mr. Birling gives long lectures such as “the world is developing so fast…” and yet towards the exit of the inspector Mr. Birling is reduced to an average eight words. A good example of the inspector’s authority over Birling is evident when Birling states: “I don’t want any of that talk from you the inspector simply cuts in with “I don’t want any of it from either of you”. The inspector upon stating his intentions, dictates all of the events and characters on the stage.

    Dramatic irony is shrewdly utilised throughout the play. It is simply a term to provide anguish and tension, it also provides a sense of humour. In my opinion the humorous aspect is one that should be studied in great detail. The amusement from the audience’s point of view comes from certain comments made by Mr. Birling and Mr. Croft. I mentioned earlier on in my essay that Mr. Birling was arrogant, arrogant in his opinions making comments such as ‘the Titanic is unsinkable’ little did he know that it was to sink on it’s maiden voyage.

    He also commented ‘there will be peace and prosperity and rapid progress everywhere’; this emphasises that he was oblivious to the obvious warning signs to each of the downfalls. A vast amount of the opening to the play is made up of past events such as the sinking of the Titanic and the two World Wars, this automatically gives the audience the impression that Mr. Birling does not have a clear vision of the future no does he know what he is talking about and that he clearly is in no position to be a social icon for the audience.

    Mr. Birling is surely quite confident that he shall be in the new years honours list. He bases this concept on; “I was Lord Mayor two years ago when royalty visited” and “I have always been regarded as a sound useful party man”. Does this imply a slight weakness for a gathering of men and women to engage in conversation, drink and be merry, or that he allows himself to be bribed into voting a party into government? Throughout the play this question is never explored or answered in any way. Therefore I would be tempted to suggest that he could easily be bribed-this is possibly where some of his ‘money solves everything’ views come from.

    During Birling’s speeches surrounding “every man should look after himself and his own”, the inspector enters and disturbs the contempt and celebratory atmosphere. Immediately Mr. Birling assumes that he needs help to receive a warrant of some kind. However this is not the case once Mr. Birling is made aware that he is to be questioned, he instantaneously begins to usher along the unpleasantness of it all, “yes, yes. Horrid business. But I don’t understand why you should come here, Inspector -” this clearly show that Birling wants the ordeal over and done with as soon as humanly possible.

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    Gerald’s involvement Essay (1428 words). (2017, Nov 15). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/geralds-involvement-27326/

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