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The play is about a middle to upper-class family, the Birlings, who lived in a town called Brumley. Its is based on a girl, Eva, who had commit suicide by drinking disinfectant. An Inspector who goes by the name of “Inspector Goole” had come to the Birlings house to investigate why Eva had committed suicide. It turns out that none of the members of the Birling family had committed a real crime but they had all driven her to suicide in some way. The moral of the play is to judge their consciences and there by our consciences to make us work together as “members of one body.
” Two characters represent the historical context are Mr Birling and Sheila. At the end of the play they show opposite poles of society. Mr Birling represents the older generation that has held on to values of years and years back. Mr Birling is an ex-mayor, father of the family, a factory owner and he’s earned a knight hood. Sheila is Mr Birling’s daughter. She is also pompous. Sheila represents the innocent one in society and the future and present generation.
At the beginning of the play the Birlings all appear like Mr Birling in there believes that they should all be individuals and not care about the rest of the community. This was because they were an upper class family. Mr Birling and Sheila portray the political theme of community and the individual. Priestly believes that we need to be responsible so that we can look after each other, we will not survive as individuals if we don’t work together. Priestly voices his opinions through the character of the Inspector.
” 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 represents the moral of the play. Mr Birling and Sheila abuse the power, this causing Eva’s death. Mr Birling has power over Eva and when he thinks that Eva does not respect him and asks for a raise he uses his power to sack Eva. Sheila also uses her power to get Eva dismissed from Millwards. Because she is rich and spends a lot of money at the shop the managers respect her.
If she is not happy there she won’t shop there and the company shall lose a lot of money. So because of Eva not making Sheila feel welcome at Millwards Sheila is unhappy. She then tells the manager that she shall no longer be shopping there unless Eva is dismissed. With that Eva gets dismissed because the company can’t afford to lose the Birlings. Mr Birling represents the older generation, showing us that society at the time was divided into different social classes, the upper, the middle, and the lower class.
The upper class had no respect for the lower class and this shows during the play. When speaking about Eva trying to negotiate a higher wage for herself, Mr Birling says, “I’m talking as a hard headed practical man of business. ” This is evidence that Mr Birling has no respect and feelings for the lower class, as he doesn’t care whether Eva has a larger income or not. Mr Birling is only concerned about keeping the wage bill as small as possible. That quote also shows the pompous side of him.