The play is set in 1912 two years before the start of the First World War. The Balkans war was under way Italy and Turkey over the Turkeys African possessions,. Turkey lost and was forced to hand over Libya, Rhodes and the Dodecanese Islands to the Italians. But Turkey’s troubles were not yet over. Having concluded peace with the Italians it found itself engulfed in war with no fewer than four small nations over the possession of Balkan territories: Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria – and later Montenegro.
The play was set just before the launch of the Titanic, The Titanic was believed by many to be a revolutionary ship, “Unsinkable”, it weighed no less than forty six thousand eight hundred tons. It was luxury everything you needed was there. It could reach New York in five days! This was the common view of the titanic. The same night as it left the temperature dropped to almost freezing, there was no moon and the sky was clear. There was little view of the path. The ship hip an iceberg and split.
Many died with only a few survivors. In Post war England there was a class divide, the rich looked down on the poor. The poor were not treated as humans but more as vermin, leaches of society. It was frowned upon that any upper-class would associate with anyone of a lower class. Rich people believed that poor people had no rights. I believe Priestly wrote the play mainly to get to people to take responsibility for there actions and to understand that everything we do has consequences.
The whole play shares the same message “do onto others as you would have them do onto you. ” This is a Christian message which is the base of any good society. In the introduction Priestly is told to have loved to have political arguments and this play is very political so he must have used his political knowledge and views to put his point across. Sheila’s farther Mr Birling is a bully to Sheila, He treats her like a child, and she has no opinion in her father’s eyes.
He tells her “It’s nothing to do with you” He may be doing this to shield his shame, Or to protect Sheila from the truth as if she was too young. He calls her a “child” just increasing the evidence that he really does treat her like a child. Her farther is all business, that’s all he speaks and thinks of she is quick to jump when Mrs Birling tells Mr Birling “I don’t think you ought to talk business on this occasion. She soon replies, sticking up for her mother “Neither do I” trying not to be too rude to her farther.
She knows that her farther reputation means a lot to him and that he is proud of the possibility of being knighted, she is also aware that her farther is more concerned about making business proposals and sees the engagement more of a chance to make a deal with his arch rival “Croft and Son” Sheila is fully aware of how her mother acts differently between the two social divides around England at the time. She sees Sheila and Eric still as “children” and speaks patronisingly to them. She never accept that’s she’s wrong she would refuse to believe things when the facts were shown . i. e.
Eric’s drinking, Gerald’s affair with Eva, and that Eva really did refuse to accept the stolen money , claiming “She was giving herself ridiculous airs. ” Throughout the play, like her husband she refuses to take responsibility showing this in the simple statement of “I accept no blame for it at all. ” Sheila believes that Gerald is kind, warm-hearted man who cares so much for her. She understands that Gerald is a busy man and that work may get in the way of their relationship at times but, she is suspicious about what he did all last summer as she had little contact with him at all.
When she finds out that he had been with Eva Smith all last summer when he had lied, telling her he was busy at work she thinks he is a “coward. ” She respects him finally when he told of how he did “love” Eva but she feels she doesn’t know him as much as she had thought. Sheila and Eric have a typically brother-sister relationship; they behave rude and unfriendly to each other but in principle like each other very much. An example of this is when Eric makes the toast to Sheila and Gerald in which he says “All The best! She’s got a nasty temper sometimes- but she’s not bad really.
Good old Sheila. ” Although Sheila is fully aware of Eric’s drinking problem she offers her support to him. When Sheila enters the room to see the inspector for the first time it says she entered “Gaily” which is used to show her walking in happily, Gaily is used to describe her as oblivious to the situation very childlike and immature. In the same sentence she uses the word “Mummy”, in modern times this word would be thought of as childish and immature, but in this context it is used to show that she was extremely posh.
When Sheila asks what was happening Birling says, “Nothing to do with you” This shows that she was treated like a child not allowed into adult conversations, Birling is telling her what to do, not allowing her to voice her opinion like a respected adult. When Sheila find out that Birling had sacked the girl before she had died she is “Rather Distressed” She reacts instantly showing how sensitive and sympathetic she is to Eva Smith. Sheila frequently uses adverbs to ethicise her level of concern and disgust of the whole event.
A great example of this is when she describes how Eva Smith had died “so horribly”. When Sheila hears about how Eva was fires from Milwards she is told to be “agitated. ” This means she was worried and uncomfortable she was scared. She knew that the girl she had got sacked was Eva Smith. The inspector then shows her the picture and she “recognises it with a little cry, gives a half-stifled sob, and then runs out” This shows her instant regret for the part she took in this girls suicide.
She does not try to hold back her emotions and ultimately deny the allegations put forward. She accepts what she had done and the consequences it will have. When she enters again it “looks as if she’s been crying. ” These are tears of remorse which shows Moral anguish for what she had done with bitter regret. She make her feeling clear when she says, “I felt rotten” showing a deep concern and sadness for the girl and what she had gone through. She tells of how the feeling has grown on her, “Now I feel a lot worse. When she “miserably” asks, “So I’m really responsible.
” She shows the she really does recognise that she is now taking responsibility for her actions and that she will accept full responsibility for her actions. Sheila becomes “distressed” (showing the contrast between the age groups) the readily confesses everything that happened to her critical brother Eric. She then admits her faults to the inspector telling of how she was in a “furious temper” and she never tries to soften the events up, she tells them exactly like they happened.
She tells everyone that the only reason she has reported Eva was because she “caught sight of her smiling” when an outfit did not fit her properly she did not try to justify her actions. Then she admits “It was my own fault. ” Admitting that she was the one wrong and ultimately accepting responsibility for everything and admitting there was no aggravation. She then turns to Gerald and says “I expect you’ve done things your ashamed of too. ” This is ironic because Gerald is also guilty.
She starts to re tell the events that day and she again owns up to her faults by saying “I was very rude. ” Then “she almost breaks down, but just controls herself. ” This shows us that she had difficulty controlling her emotions but she was determined to tell the truth. Yet again she accepts her mistakes and admits she was “Jealous” of Eva’s good looks. The inspector then asks her if she used the power she had for wrong to “Punish” Eva smith. Sheila Reacts instantly and admitting her fault with “Yes” then carries on to tell , “If I could help her now, I would. Showing she really regrets it and she wants to help.
Eric then makes a joke out of the situation and Sheila angrily reacts with “Oh shut up, Eric. ” This shows just how upset and agitated she is about the whole scenario. She later goes on to say “Ill never, never do it again to anybody. ” This shows she has learned her lesson. She goes on to tell of how she has noticed that people sometimes give her a “sort of look” when she shops at Milwards, this shows she is sensitive about how people will react to her now and how they will treat her.