We never meet Eva Smith during the course of the play, but she is a very important character. It is her death that is the cause of the Inspector’s investigation which in turn drives the drama.
The audience learns about Eva through the Inspector, who has read a letter and a diary she kept. They also learn about her through the characters she came into contact with. A lot of the information about her is inferred - from the incident at Mr Birling’s factory we can infer that she was strong willed. From her interaction with Sheila the audience can see that Eva had a sense of humour. Her relationship with Gerald, when she changed her name to Daisy Renton, reveals her sensitivity. By the time she reaches Eric and Sybil, Eva is desperate and resourceful in trying to get herself help.
Eva is always referred to in a positive light by the characters that met her but the Inspector never lets the audience or the Birlings and Gerald forget her gruesome death. The Inspector's final speech reveals Priestley's lesson that there are millions of Eva Smiths being exploited and this must not continue.
Essay on Mrs Birling in An Inspector Calls
1437 Words6 Pages
"I've done nothing wrong - and you know it!" Mrs Birling exclaims, refusing to take responsibility for her actions, which is just one of the reasons why the audience may not see Mrs Birling as a very likable character. This essay is going to explore how J.B. Priestley creates such a disagreeable character and why the audience feels this way about her.
Priestley represents Mrs Birling, as a very posh and high class woman. She, like her husband, can be very self-important, for example, when the Inspector says, "You're not telling me the truth" and she replies, "I beg your pardon!" She seems horrified that somebody could speak like that to a lady of her class. This is not only an example of how she is portrayed as self-important but also…show more content…
I consider ? is a trifle impertinent Inspector?, indicating she does not like it when she is not superior to others or is undermined in some way. Throughout being questioned, Mrs Birling is reticent and has to be asked small details so the Inspector can extract the right information out of her, ?And if I was, what business is it of yours?? indicating that she may have something to hide. Like her husband, Mrs Birling refuses to accept any responsibility for her actions and is constantly in denial when questioned, ?I?ve done nothing wrong and you know it?. Perhaps this could be because she actually believes she has done nothing wrong, or because she is hiding what she has done wrong. However, not a completely cold-hearted or self-absorbed woman, she does not knowingly place the blame on the rest of her family, but on the father of Eva?s child, who she later learns is Eric. She asks the Inspector to force the father of the child make a ?public confession of responsibility? and so Mrs Birling is really condemning the family to bad publicity, exactly what Mr Birling has not wanted all throughout the play.
Mrs Birling uses very distinctive language that is always class conscious. At the beginning of the play, Mr Birling asks the maid to give his compliments to the cook but Mrs Birling immediately replies, ?Arthur, you?re not supposed to say such things?? showing that she is very aware of the divisions between classes and the language used within these classes. Another