Which character from An Inspector Call learns most from Eva Smith’s death.

An Inspector Calls is basically a ‘who is to blame’ mystery. It is written by J.B priestly. The play is set in 1912 in a wealthy businessman’s dining room, who is celebrating his daughter’s engagement. The characters in this scene are Mr and Mrs Birling, their son Eric, daughter Sheila and her fiancé Gerald Croft and later on in the play we meet Inspector Goole.

J.B Priestly was a patriotic socialist who championed social change to benefit the poor. This is reflected in an Inspector calls which was written in 1947 and reflects with the hindsight on the social, cultural and historical elements as well as references to class, morals and political views. The play is moralistic and the character of the inspector acts as a catalyst whilst investigating the suicide of a young girl called Eva Smith. There is also some irony in the play because at the beginning Arthur Birling talks about how great the Titanic is and how it’s unsinkable. As the play is set in 1912 and written in 1947 the ship had already sunk. Any readers of the play would understand this.

Out of all of the characters in An Inspector calls I think that Eric has learned the most from Eva Smiths death as he learned that he drinks too much, his actions have consequences and his parents aren’t who they seem to be, they are less insecure.

All of the characters reacted differently to the Inspectors questioning. Mr Birling was straight on the defensive. This is shown in a number of places in the play ‘there’s nothing mysterious-or scandalous-about this business as far as I’m concerned…it has nothing to do with the wretched girls suicide’ or ‘Well, inspector, I don’t see that it’s any concern of yours how I choose to run my business.’

Sheila confessed that her behaviour at Millward’s was unacceptable ‘I behaved badly too, I know I did.’ This shows that she has regrets about her behaviour and the audience might think that she has learned something from her experience.

Gerald tries to cover up what he has done. At the end of Act 1 he appears to be a gentlemen but later we discover that he has acted like a womaniser.

Mrs Birling refuses to accept responsibility because she feels that she generally made the correct decision not to accept her Eva’s claim. ‘To behave sensibly, Sheila which is more than your doing’ shows that Mrs Birling is continually passing on the blame and not taking any herself.

Eric is guilty but maybe you can excuse him because of his alcoholism.

I think there is a change in attitudes towards how Eva Smith was treated. I believe that Sheila has changed her attitude the most as she realises that her behaviour was not acceptable and she feels she is partly to blame. ‘I know I’m to blame’ shows she has realised her behaviour was poor and regrets it.

The character that learns the most is Sheila. She has learned that she can’t be jealous or envious, the things you say and do will effect others and not to use name/states to get what she wants. Sheila learns the most, ‘I know I’m to blame’ shows that she knows she’s made a mistake but she has learned from her mistake, that the things you say and do will effect others.

Eva dominates the proceedings and yet she doesn’t even appear on the stage. We get an idea of what she is like from other people’s conversations. The first thing that as the reader we know is that she is honest because she did not want to accept stolen money ‘So she came to you because she didn’t want to accept stolen money?’. We also know that Eva had a lot of self belief, as she plucked up the courage to ask for a pay rise ‘… Mr Birling sacked her for wanting twenty-five shillings instead of twenty-two and six’.

Between February and March 1911 Eva change her name to Daisy Renton. I think this is significant because it shows that she is trying to put her past behind her and start a new life. Unfortunately though after a small period