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An Inspector Calls: Who is to Blame? Essay


An Inspector Calls-

Who is the most to blame for the death of Eva Smith?

A short way into the start of the story, an inspector calls in on the Birling family to question them about some recent events concerning a girl called Eva Smith. It turns out that she had recently committed suicide by drinking some disinfectant. As the story moves on, the inspector finds that all the family members- Mr B, Mrs B, Sheila, Eric and Gerald- all had some responsibility in her death. It is because of this that it is difficult to determine who is the most to blame.

The character I feel is the last to blame is Gerald. I think this because after he saw her being wedged into a corner by a drunken Joe Meggarty in the palace bar, he took it upon himself to rescue her. He took her to a hotel bar to have a drink and then he got to know her better. He found out that she had no job and no money and no-where to live and so when Geralds friend, Charlie Brunswick, had given him a key to a little set of rooms he owned, he thought it would be a kind thing to let her stay there an little while. It is because of this that I feel Gerald is the least to blame. He took care of her when she was desperate for some help. When he felt that his relationship with Eva became too intense, he ended it, partly because he felt he was betraying Sheila: so I broke it off definitely. Eva took this very well and so I do not think it contributed to her committing suicide.

The next character who I believe is least to blame is Sheila. I think this because all the way through the story she seems very upset over the whole incident and also feels guilty for her part in Evas death.

Sheila abused her power as a valued customer and ended up getting Eva sacked for no reason. When she was shopping at Milwards and tried on a dress, she looked at herself in the mirror she caught a glimpse of the shop assistant smiling to herself as if to say doesnt she look awful. Sheila took this personally and made a complaint to the manager about the assistant. As a result, Eva was sacked leaving her without a job and almost no money.

I would say that having Eva sacked from Milwards was the more harmful treatment (compared to Gerald) as it was her only job and had nowhere to go after that. Also, this was the more harmful treatment because it could not be proved that Eva was actually laughing at Sheila or whether she laughed at something the other shop assistant said to her.

The next character I feel is least to blame is Mr Birling. He was the first person questioned by the inspector and it turned out that he also got Eva sacked from a job, only this time it was from his own company. Mr Birling says that she was sacked for being the ringleader of a strike demanding more pay. He also says that he felt it was the right thing to do and he feels no sympathy for her: they wanted rates raised I refused of course.

After being sacked from her first job she was left with little money and no job, until she got the one at Milwards. It is because of this that I have placed Mr Birling at number 3.

Next, I have placed Eric as the second most to blame for her death. This is because he got Eva pregnant and when he found out, he thought it would be best to marry her but she refused and treated him as if he were a kid. Eric knew that she hadnt a job so he gave her enough money to keep her going; she refused to take any more after a while. It turns out that the money he was trying to give her was stolen from Mr Birlings office- and that, of course, was the reason that Eva refused any more money. This left her with no job, no money and no-one to care for her child. This is where she goes to Mrs Birlings committee for help.

The person I feel is mostly to blame for Eva Smiths death is Mrs Birling. I think this because Eva went to Mrs Birling for help and she was refused.

When Eva went to the committee she claimed that her name was also Mrs Birling. It is because of this that the real Mrs Birling refuses to help her. She felt insulted that someone would take claim that they have the same name as herself and so was immediately prejudiced against her. Although she felt justified in her decision, it was not a unanimous decision of the committee to refuse Eva help. Most of the members felt that she must be desperate for help if she had to come to them she needed not only money, but advice, sympathy, friendliness and you slammed the door in her face but Mrs Birling refused to believe her story. At this point, she had no idea that the husband Eva was talking about was Eric- her own son and the stolen money was actually Mr Birlings- her own husband.

After the last resort had failed, Eva had nothing, no home, no job, no family and no money- she hadnt much to live for, so I believe that it is Mrs Birlings fault that Eva committed suicide.

In conclusion to the question who, in your opinion, is responsible for the death of Eva Smith?- my answer is Mrs Birling. I think this because she was Evas last source of help and she was refused any because she called herself Mrs Birling.

I came to this decision by considering the effects of all the characters roles in Eva Smiths life and seeing who delivered the most painful treatment.

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