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    What does Priestley show the audience about responsibility Essay

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    Eva was a young pretty girl residing in Brumley. She was unfortunate to meet the Birling family. The circumstances around Eva were so bad that they led to her death. She was a working class woman in her mid twenties. However she had no family to support her when she most needed help. Mr Birling was involved with Eva’s death when Mr Birling claimed that Eva was a ring leader so he sacked her. However she was a `good worker` and he just sacked her because she wanted a pay rise, Birling states in act 1, ` they wanted the rates raised so that they could average about twenty-five shillings a week.

    I refused, of course. ` She needed the raise because before the strike occurred here was a holiday season where she couldnt provide for herself which led her to being in poverty. When Mr Birling found out that Eva had died from drinking disinfectent he didn’t feel at all responsible. When he says of course it shows that he doesnt understand that workers can get a pay rise(stage directions). After two months with no work, Eva was granted a job at Millwards. Eva was enjoying working at Millwards until Sheila came in and used her power of her family name to get Eva sacked.

    Just because she smiled however Sheila got the wrong point of view thinking that Eva was laughing at her but she was just jealous of Eva. She had remorse for what she had done unlike her father Mr Birling. When Sheila states `Yes, but it didnt seem anything very terrible at the time. Dont you understand? And if I could help her now, I would-`. She knows how she is partly responsible. She shows how she has remorse from her errors in addition she says ‘Ill never do it again to anybody’ which reiterates the difference between her and her father.

    Gerald was partly responsible for Eva’s death. He first saw her when she was being sexually harrased by Joe Meggarty. Gerald was there to rescue her as one thing let to another. He let her stay at his friends house to make love to her then later on he abandoned her when he went back to Sheila because he was bored of her. Shortly before he’s allowed to leave Gerald states ‘Im rather nore-upset-by this business than I probably appear to be’. The pattern of his speech changes through the hyphens showing us his grief. Eric met Eva at the Palace bar in November 1911.

    When they met they were both drunk and then one thing let to another and he forced himself on her then they had an affair. Afterwards they met a few times and he gave her money by stealing i?? 50 from Mr Birling. However he didnt marry her, knowing that she was of a lower class. Also, he used her for his pleasure, She refused to take the money when she found out it was stolen. He left her not knowing that she was pregnant. Unlike his father he had remorse for the mistakes he made, when the inspector left Eric said ` What happened to the girl and what we all did to her that matters.

    And I still feel the same about it, and thats why I dont feel like sitting down and having a nice cosy talk. ` By this he shows that he cares about what they all did to her. When Eva was left homeless. She was desperate for help as she had no finance coming in so she went to the Brumley womens charity organisation to ask for help. Eva would never ask for help so she went in with the name Mrs Birling However Mrs Birling took action for her name as she was jealous that it was identical to hers. Therefore she acted with excessive hubris towards Eva, even though her job demanded the opposite.

    She ensured that Eva wasnt given any help and her case was turned down. Mrs Birling did not feel guilty for what she had done like her husband Mr Birling, she claims `ive done nothing wrong – and you know it. ` Which illustrates her denials snd her arrogant nature. She is extremely hypocritical as her job is to help those like Eva Smith. She has learnt nothing. During the play Priestly created a split in morals between the different generation for instance Mr Birling, Mrs Birling and Gerald Croft didnt learn their lesson whereas the younger generation did, which was Eric and Sheila.

    The plays ending like when the inspector comes into the play highlights all the faults from the older generation. Towards the end of the play actions such as when Birling imitates the inspector shows that the whole thing was a joke to him. Also Gerald says ‘Everythings allright now, Sheila’ When it really isnt. Then just after this they get a phone call that a girl has died. The play may be looked at in a optimistic way which means that the younger generation have learnt from their mistakes and have true regret.

    Also it can be seen in a pessimistic way because the older generation have not learnt from their mistakes and if there are still people like Gerald in the younger generation there will still be problems in the world. By the end of the play Eric and Sheila had learnt their lesson but Gerald, Mr and Mrs Birling had not. Priestley uses the Inspector as his mouthpiece in the play to voice his opinions and concerns on the selfish nature of capitalism. The Inspector represents socialism by mentioning community spirit, helping others and thinking of people as members of one body. He stands for everything that Birling is against.

    Birling doesnt take any interest in the community when he says ` community and all that nonsense` in act one before the inspector arrives. Birling also thinks that man is only responsible for themselves and nobody else. Illustrated when he states `… a man has to make his own way-has to look after himself. ` In fact the Inspectors arrival literally interupts Mr Birling’s speech to the younger generation on the importance of capitolism. He values only the virtues of business and profit, not human aid and charity. The Inspectors final speech before his departure highlights Priestleys moral message.

    The Inspector talks of men learning the lesson of responsibility through `fire, blood and anguish` the implication here suggests WW1 and his deep religion connotations of hell. In this way Priestley shows his concerns for society and the need of social responsibility. Priestley attempts to show the audience that even if there is no dead girl the Birlings and Croft should still be sorry for their selfish actions. It shouldnt take someone getting caught for them to be sorry. They believe that if he wasnt a police inspector then it is just a joke, nevertheless that is not true as they still admitted their actions.

    Whether it was one girl or five different girls, one suicide or not, they mistreated people they met due to judging her class distinctions. All of their actions were self motivated all they wanted was what they could set for themselves. Priestleys viewpoint represents the moral message ; each of the characters did something morally corrupt. Whether it was a serious, life changing action such as abandoning a pregnant woman or a seemingly less significant action such as complaining about a shop assistant, each serves only to affect her in a detrimental way.

    Regardless of suicide, mistaken identity of or a prank, Priestley wishes the audience, like the Birling’s, to understand how our actions often have unseen repercussions. Priestleys moral message is delivered through the inspectors message. Evidence from the message is `Millions and millions of… still left with us… all intertwined with our lives… we are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. ` By telling us this the author wants to reflect on the social prejudice, exploitation and immorality.

    By commenting on socialism Priestley links the play to the social context it was written in. There is historical references for example the play was written in 1945 and set in 1912 which is thirty years before. By setting the play thirty years before it was written shows the stupidity of the time period. In 1912 people were racist because Mr Birling says Balkans are behind. Priestley shows a social/political reference which constructs the play around the idea that capitolism breeds corruption, both moral and business corruption.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    What does Priestley show the audience about responsibility Essay. (2017, Oct 13). Retrieved from

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