Berling Family

The play has seven characters and is set in 1912. The whole play is
conducted from the Berlings dining room that is in an industrial city
called Brumly in the North Midlands. The play opens with the Berling
family celebrating Shella's engagement to Gerald Croft who is also at
the party. We see that Gerald and the Berlings are fairly wealthy
because they can afford to have a party unlike most people at that
time. On page 11 the Inspector is introduced and begin's to tell the
Berlings that "two hours ago a young woman died in the Infirmary" . The
young woman was dead because she had drunk some bleach. Suicide was
suspected. Her name was Eva Smith. He starts his investigation by
questioning Mr Berling and slowly works his way through the family,
including Gerald.

Mr Berling is the first person the Inspector confronts with the
Responsibility of the young women’s death. Mr. Berling is the type of
character that thinks that Titanic is unsinkable and that there will
never be a war which is a dramatic irony. Eva had been employed at Mr
Berlings factory but had been sacked for leading a strike to get the
workers more pay. At first Mr. Berling will not accept responsibility
which is shown when he says "Still, I can't accept any responsibility.
If we were all responsible for everything that happened to everybody
We’d had anything to do with, it would be very awkward." Mr Burling
shows in this way that he has a lot of power to say if the workers
have a steady income or not and does not care about the consequences.
The Inspector thinks that Mr. Berling is partly to blame for Eva being
so depressed that she killed herself. She was out of work for the
next two months. Both her parents were dead, so that she’d no home to
go back to. And she hadn’t been able to save much out of what Berling
and Company had paid her. So that after two months, with no work, no
money coming in, and living in lodgings, with no relatives to help her,
few friends, lonely, half-starved, she was feeling desperate.^

The second person questioned by the Inspector was Sheila who is the
only one who does accept some of the blame. Sheila is a young woman who
Tends to over-react to things. Sheila is engaged to Gerald. When she
thought that a dress looked better on Eva than it did on her she became
very angry. This was clearly shown when she says "When I was looking
at myself in the mirror I caught sight of her smiling at the assistant,
and I was furious with her. I'd been in a bad temper anyhow." Sheila
shows she has a lot of power and wealth when she tells the shop's
manager that if he doesn't get rid of her then she'll stop coming to
the shop and will persuade her mother to close her account with them.
After Sheila had got Eva sacked from Millwards she became a prostitute
which is a horrible occupation for any woman especially if she has been
forced in to it.

Gerald is the kind of character that is strong-willed and probably the
complete opposite of Sheila. At first Gerald tried to deny knowing Eva
because he got to know her while he was courting Sheila. Eva had
changed her name to Daisy Renton so no one knew her name when she was
being a prostitute. This was the time Gerald got to know her. She was
at the favourite haunt of the prostitutes, the Palacee bar, when Gerald
met her. "I met her first, some time in March last year, in the stalls
bar at the Palace. I mean the Palace music hall in Brumley-". After
they met he took her to the County Hotel and bought her a meal, this
was after she had mentioned that she had no money. Gerald, after a
couple of nights, moved her into a flat of a friend who was away in
Canada and had left Gerald the keys. At this point Eva became Gerald's
mistress and was lulled into a brief sense of comfort and prosperity
but after a while Gerald breaks it off because he is going to go on a
businesses trip somewhere and knows that the relationship has got to
end . He does not think about Eva's feelings. Eva spoke to Gerald as if
she had been expecting the break up for a while, “She told