An inspector calls (John Priestley) - Who is to blame? - Referat

In John Priestley’s „An inspector calls“, the Birling family is confronted with the tragical suicide of Eva Smith and each family member has to realize, that her fate is partly their fault. But who is the one, who is responsible for her death? And if it isn’t just one person, who is to blame the most (or least)?

In my opinion this question is really tricky. It definitely wasn’t just one person’s fault. Eva Smith committed suicide because of a series of events and continual bad luck; it wasn’t one person’s doings. The Birlings all took their part in these issues, but none of them is the only reason she wanted to end her life.

But it’s still possible to assess their guilt. And I will start with Gerald Croft, who technically isn’t a Birling, but due to his engagement to Sheila I’d call him a family member as well. In my opinion, Gerald is the one who is to blame least. I would even go as far to claim, that he isn’t responsible at all. He helped her, when she was unemployed and out of money. Gerald is to blame for cheating on Sheila, not for Eva’s suicide.

The next person on my list would be Mr. Birling. He was the one who sacked her and started her misery in the first place, but although he was cold-hearted, he was legally right.

Sheila on the other hand had no real reason for misusing her status to get Eva fired. Just because Sheila was in a bad mood, Eva had to lose her job again. Yes, technically they both did the same thing, but their motives were different.

On the other hand Sheila at least seemed to regret her action.

The extent of her brother’s guilt is way more difficult to evaluate. I personally believe, that the pregnancy was the final piece of Eva’s misery. It was one thing to make ends meet, but to care for two people? Eric didn’t rape her, but he should have reacted differently. Instead of stealing money, he should have told his family.
It is comprehensibly, that he feared his parent’s reactions, but it was their grandchild after all. There would have been consequences, but they wouldn’t have been as bad as both Eva’s and the unborn child’s death.

But I still can’t blame Eric most, because he cared and tried to help.

Mrs. Birling didn’t. And therefore I blame her most. Her charity organization was Eva Smith’s last hope, but Sybil Birling refused to help. And her only defense for her decision, was the fact that Eva was lying about her name. But even if she was lying about everything else- and Mrs. Birling seemed to know that she was not, although she didn’t admit it- there was no doubt that Eva was desperate and needed help.

In my opinion there is no excuse for Mrs Birling’s doings (and it shouldn’t be forgotten, that she didn’t regret anything) and if someone asked me, who was to blame most, I would answer that Eva’s suicide was dependent on several people’s doings, especially Sybil Birling’s.

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