This would be why Eva had to lead a small party. This shows that Eva was obviously intelligent, or otherwise wouldn’t be able to lead a party. As the gang leader, she was sacked. Mr Birling doesn’t appear to show much guilt or remorse for Eva’s death until near to the end of the play where he has realised that it was his fault too. “Look inspector – I’d give thousands, yes thousands” is what Arthur says towards the end of the play. This indicates that Arthur did indeed begin to take some responsibility for his actions, but still, he acted as many other employers of that generation would.
Following this event, Eva manages to get back on her feet with a new job at Milwards, a local dress-wear shop and well-known department store. She worked here as a sales assistant. She was obviously polite, intelligent, and well spoken, or otherwise she wouldn’t have got the job. Eva was trying to work her way up the social ladder, but in this day this was made very hard for people like her because she was downgraded. She wasn’t upper class, and in this era, anyone that wasn’t upper class was instantly labelled as lower class.
Sheila had got Eva sacked from this job for smiling at her in a way that she found offensive. It was whilst Sheila was trying on a dress, that she clearly knew wasn’t right for her, but she really liked the dress. When Sheila was trying on the dress Eva smiled at her, and from this Sheila assumed it was a smile as if to say, “I would look great in that dress, but you obviously don’t”. This was not the case, but still Sheila too it upon herself to get Eva sacked once again. Upon hearing this, Sheila immediately wants to take on the blame herself and feels responsible.
Sheila is not solely to blame, in fact, she did very little but even after learning that there was no Eva Smith she still continues to feel guilty for her actions, as they are immoral and wrong. Gerald’s involvement with Eva, or Daisy Renton as she is now known, started off very honourably. He offers Daisy a flat to live in after seeing her in a bar being pestered by drunks. He gave her all that she needed at this point, food, money, a place to stay, and friendship, something which she needed greatly at this point. Soon after they became an item, but Gerald broke this off and did not see her again afterwards.
This makes Gerald look like he’s completely used her, but the fact still remains that he provided her with all the things she needed, and more importantly, cared about her. Gerald was another person who was genuinely upset by the news of Daisy’s death, in fact, so upset that he had to leave the room. However, Gerald is more to blame than Sheila because he didn’t care about the incident until he found out that he knew her, and then when he learnt that this character was untrue, he yet again fails to care. Eric met Daisy at the palace bar, a well-known place for young ladies in search of a man.
He spoke with her and then offered to take her home. At this point, he forced his way into Daisy’s flat and made love to her. His way in doing this was very childish and immature. Eric threatened to make excessive noise outside her home, which would almost certainly have her kicked out by the landlord, and so she let him in. His lame excuse for his actions was because he was drunk. Eric continued to see her for a while until he learnt that Daisy thought she might be pregnant. She refused money that Eric offered her because she knew it was stolen from Eric’s father.
She also refused what was considered to be the good thing at this time. This was to marry Eric, but she didn’t want to do this, as she knew that he didn’t really love her. Although Eric was very irresponsible, he did try to help her as he could, and was even prepared to steal from his own father to do so. Just like his sister, Eric continued to feel guilty after learning that there was no Daisy, and had previously tried to do the right things. This makes me think that he should not have a massive part of the blame on his conscience. Following this, Daisy then went to Brumley’s local charity organisation for women for help.
This is where she met Mrs Birling. She had gone to the organisation for money to help support her child. At this time, abortion was out of the question as it was not in legal practise. Because her child was conceived with Eric, she chose to use his surname. Mrs Birling took this as an offence, which was what lead to her being prejudice against her appeal for help. I thought that Mrs Birling was mostly to blame for what happened due to her actions throughout the play. Most of these actions had absolutely no thought about morality put into them, about whether they are the right things to do.
Mrs Birling shows no remorse for what happened to daisy throughout the play. This is a reflection of the general attitude in this Edwardian era. The audience sympathise with Eva, this is an addition to the message of a morality play. It is obvious that Sheila and Eric have learnt from there mistakes, but we need to know what they have learnt in order to see if this play was successful in teaching human error. The inspector’s final speech is like a political statement. He tells them “We don’t live alone, we are members of one body, we are responsible for each other”.
This is trying to say that we need to be collectively responsible for everyone, a work communally with people that live with us. The closing speech links up with other things in the play too. The message he has to tell is a strong one, like the inspector’s presence is supposed to be seen as a big presence. The speech is very passionate as if the inspector really does care. Preistley’s main message is that we live in a community, and therefore everyone needs to help everyone, instead of the downgrading of the less fortunate people.
Preistley believed in equality, that everyone should be equal, have equal rights, the same opportunities. He was a socialist and socialists believed in a society where everyone is valued the same. The play shows the blatant disrespect for the lower class from the upper class. It matters that the older Birling’s have not totally realised there wrong doings, because if they are not learning from there mistakes then they will continue with this way of life, which to them is fine, so why would they want to change for the sake of someone else, they are too selfish to do this.
The ending of the play leads us to believe the chain of events will happen again, but what ponders on our minds is will they tell it how they told it to inspector Goole, or will they modify it to accommodate for the reputations that cant be lost. This will show if they have learned from there mistakes, if they have, they will tell the story straight, hold their hands up, and accept there responsibilities.
When they find out there is no one dead, the males are relived, but this is not because they felt guilty because they thought they had killed someone, this is because they are relieved that they have avoided a scandal. Arthur says, “The whole story’s just a load of moonshine”. Arthur feels overjoyed to be put in the position to say this. When the inspector left Sybil and Arthur all tried to blame each other, once again, taking the blame of their shoulders, They have an “I’m all’ right jack” attitude once again.
As long as they are personally ok, then no one else matters, pure selfishness. We now know that the lesson will have to be learnt again with the real investigation but what is left on our minds is the question, have they learnt from their mistakes? Eric and Sheila however, have both learnt from their immorality and mistakes. Overall to me, this is a successful morality play. I have personally learnt from it, I have gained extra knowledge of life’s happenings in the Edwardian era, and I have learnt how people can be quick to pass the blame as long as they are OK.
This play has left me thinking about selfishness, and working with others in a community instead of only thinking about yourself. I think that this proves the play to be a good one because it has left me thinking these things, and has taught me.