Inspector calls is a play written by JB Priestley in 1945. An Inspector calls discusses issues of class, morality and responsibility. Priestly preaches his social views with in the play and reflects this in the character of the Inspector he believes that we should all care for one another as we are “all members of one body”. Furthermore the play follows a middle class family and discusses there respectability and questions whether respectability is directly proportional to morality. All characters are interrogated and it appears all have performed actions that have resulted in Eva Smith or Daisy Renton’s death .
The key point that Priestly is trying to demonstrate is not the actions that they have done but there response and how far they feel remorse for their wrong doings. Dramatic and chronological irony is featured in the novel as the play is set in 1912 but written in 1945 hence allowing the audience to look retrospectively and judge the characters accordingly . In this essay I will be discussing the Birling family and indeed Gerald Crofts ability to take responsibility and respond with a sense of guilt .
Sheila seems to change dramatically throughout the course of the play she begins by being dependant on her parents and as the stage directions state “pleased with her life”. However by the end of the play Sheila is able to form her own opinions and able to take responsibility unlike her father and mother. An example of this is she tells her parents that they may not go on like they have done before despite becoming aware of the inspector as a fake she says “you’re pretending everything is just as it was before”.
In addition Sheila seems truly devastated once she has learnt of her role in Eva smiths death she claims “I will never ever do anything like this again” . Sheila’s compassion is believable and conforms to the idea of the inspectors so much so that she believes that everyone must take their share of responsibility telling her mother not to “build a wall” as it will be “knocked down” by the inspector. Eric Birling follows in his sisters footsteps he too takes his share of responsibility although not a readily as Sheila. Eric seems to be a trouble man resorting to drinking and theft.
Despite this he is able to admit to his faults towards the end of the play. He claims that they “helped killed her” hence recognising the families faults and perusing change. However in response to the money that he stole he has an inability to take responsibility. In response to the question whether or not he stole the money he repeatedly says “no not really” and ” I intended to pay it back” . Furthermore when he hears that Daisy applied to his mothers charity and was infact denied he passionately says to his mother “you killed her” .
This momentary shift of blame proves that Eric in the way of taking responsibility has steps to take although in some respects he does the moral and just coarse of action. Gerald is some what untrustworthy and Priestley intends for Gerald to be an undecided character . Gerald takes responsibility for his role in Eva’s death but on the other hand it is him who finds out the inspector is fake . Gerald says in response to questioning about Eva that “he did not install her their to make love to her” and that he was “sorry for he” .