AN INSPECTOR CALLS How does Priestley expose weakness and wickedness Essay

Submitted By MdNabil176
Words: 642
Pages: 3

English Literature – An Inspector Calls

1. Write fully about the way Priestley exposes weaknesses and wickedness, not only in the characters on stage but also in society.
Priestley exposes the wickedness in the characters by showing how they were all collectively responsible for the death of Eva Smith, by being inconsiderate and heartless of her plight, as the Inspector says “each one of you were responsible for her death”. For Mr Birling, Eva Smith was cheap labour, so this led to her sacking – “it’s my job to keep labour costs down”: Mr Birling offsets her rights for maximum profit; for Sheila, Eva Smith was envied for her looks, and because of her social status this led to her being prosecuted – Inspector: “you used the power you had to punish the girl, because she made you feel that way”: this shows that the lower-class are made victim to the impulses of the higher-class, without any power or authority; for Gerald, Eva Smith was seen as consumable, – “young and fresh and charming”: this was conventional at the time as women were seen as inferior at the time, having no social rights, and unless they were upper-class, they would in most cases take to prostitution as a means of basic income, reinforcing this idea at the time, that they were nothing more than a slab of meat, ‘fresh’ for consumption; for Mrs Birling, Eva Smith’s existence is merely sustenance for her self-righteousness and the public image of her small insignificant charity, and a means of displaying her jurisdiction in the community – “yes it was (owing to my influence as the most prominent member that help was refused) I did not like her manner”; for Eric, Eva Smith was an object of sex, used for personal gain – “She was pretty and a good sport”, “you used her for the end of a drunken evening, as if she was an animal”.
Eva Smith symbolises the weaknesses in society: ‘Smith’ represents the common working class, and the abuse she has to endure because of her social status, highlights the need for change. This is crucial to the contextual political climate as it was set in 1912, before World War 1, and thus substantiates the notion that the capitalist society, portrayed in An Inspector Calls, will only lead to “fire and blood and anguish, if we do not learn to change our ways”. But in regards to 1945, when it was written, World War 2 had finished and marked the start of a