In An Inspector Calls, Priestly presents responsibility as one of the key themes, believing that in life everyone is responsible for their actions and for the consequences which follow, affecting other people. This idea is shown throughout the play through actions, words and behaviour of the characters. In my essay, I am going to explore the words and behaviour of specific characters to demonstrate Priestly's point of view.
At the beginning of the play, the majority of the characters, excluding Inspector Goole, are participating in a celebratory event where Mr. Birling fully expresses his views about responsibility. He talks about how they shouldn't be responsible for looking out for others:
'But what so many of you don't seem to understand now, when things are so much easier, is that a man has to make his own way- hasto look after himself- and his family too, of course, when he has one- and so long he does that he won't come to much harm."
It is when he continues to speak about this, going on to how the idea of a community is nonsense, that Inspector Goole arrives. Shortly after his arrival, he announces the news of a girl's, named Eva Smith, suicide. This news brings along various reactions from the different characters in the play. Some seem to not be shaken at all by this news, such as Mr. Birling, while others are rather shocked or appalled, for example Eric and Sheila.
Then, the Inspector begins his accusations of certain characters being, in a way, responsible for the death of this girl, Eva Smith, due to the erent impact they have on her life. Inspector Goole starts to question Mr.Birling, mentioning that Eva Smith was an employee of his that got fired. The Inspector explains how this could have triggered the chain of events that happened to her next, leading to her death:
"Because what happened to her then may have determined what happened to her afterwards, and what happened to her afterwards may have driven her to suicide. A chain of...