Women in general

When the inspector turns his attention to Eric, a range of his emotions are revealed, one of these is his anger in reflection to the entire series of events that connects him to Eva. ‘…how stupid this all is’ Another is his disrespect for Eva, this is revealed when he says- ‘She was pretty and a good sport’ This indicates that forcing himself upon Eva was ‘all a game’ to him, thus indicating he has no real respect for Eva, and, I assume, women in general. This attitude shows that society considered lower class women as bodies rather than real people, revealing the severity of the social hierarchy, and the supremacy of it, in middle and lower class relations.

A good point to mention is that the inspector already knows a great deal of the facts before they are disclosed to him. He exploits this situational dominance to the full, by only revealing a small part of his knowledge. He allows the given member of the family to reveal the rest for him. For example, when he questions Gerald, he gives him the vague outline of his involvement- ‘ And then you decided to keep her as your mistress?’Then lets Gerald reveal the rest of the details-  ‘…Then we met again- not accidentally this time of course’.

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After the Inspector uses this method several times, the audience will most likely notice the effectiveness of its implementation and, as a result, it will have an effect on the audience’s overall reaction and opinion of the Inspector. To the audience, the Inspectors role appears to be intentionally deceitful in a well-disciplined manner. To summarise what the inspector reveals about each of the characters involvement with Eva’s suicide; Mr Birling sacked Eva from the factory for being one of the ringleaders in a strike for better wages. Sheila got Eva sacked from her job in a clothes shop because she was jealous of her. Gerald made her his mistress, and then paid her off; Mrs Birling persuaded her charity not to help Eva when she was alone and pregnant. And, finally, Eric is the father of Eva’s child, having forced himself on her and stolen money to help her.

When the Inspector leaves and Gerald returns, the group, and indeed the audience, find out that the Inspector was an impostor, and that there has been no suicide. Only Eric and Sheila carry on feeling guilty for their actions, whereas the rest of the family begin to return to a positive sate of mind. The telephone call at the concluding part of the play tells the group that an authentic Inspector is coming to call on them, following the suicide of a girl. They instantaneously realise that they are going to experience, in reality, what they have just been experiencing in a suspended reality, and, with this, the play comes to a close.

I believe that J.B Priestly does indeed use the inspector as ‘a mouthpiece for his own philosophy’; this is because it is especially apparent in the Inspector’s final speech. He first says- ‘But just remember this. One Eva smith has gone-but there are millions and millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with us’ This means that Priestly uses Eva to embody a wider significance of society; she represents the lower class that he believes is treated unjustly, and are disregarded by the upper class, or top end of the social ladder, witch is characterized by Mr. and Mrs. Birling.

However he believes this should revolutionize, and all hope of this happening is though the more youthful (and as a result more impressionable) generation, which is represented by Eric and Sheila. The Inspector also proclaims- ‘We are all members of one body. We are all responsible for each other’ He says this to the Birlings (who represent the upper class) because he believes they have no sense of social moralities, and quite frankly, so do I.