Responsibility

  • Created by: RSR5
  • Created on: 15-04-17 10:55
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  • Responsibility
    • The theme of responsibility is closely related to the theme of equality and occurs in different ways throughout the play
    • Mr Birling feels that his responsibility is to make as large a profit as he can from his business, whether or not this means treating his workers unfairly
    • Mrs Birling has responsibilities as chair of the Brumley Women's charity organisation but believes that help should only be given to those who deserve it
    • Sheila realises too late that her social standing as a valued Milwards' customer brings responsibilities with it
    • Eric has little sense of responsibility at all, until he is moved by the Inspector's words
    • Gerald showed some responsibility by helping Daisy Renton escape from the Palace Theatre Bar. He provided for her to a limited extent but he also disregarded his responsibilities to Sheila
    • "There are millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths" - Inspector Goole
    • Sheila had her dismissed from Milwards
    • Servants like Edna worked very long hours, usually rising between five and six in the morning and finishing work at any time, depending on the requirements of their employers
    • Mrs Birling refused to help her when she most needed it
    • Mr Birling dismissed her from his factory
    • Eric and Gerald took advantage of Eva's vulnerability
    • The question asked throughout the play is: who is responsible for the suicide of Eva Smith?
    • "We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will soon come when if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish.” - Inspector Goole
    • When the legal consequences of the truths revealed by the Inspector’s questioning have been removed, there remains a question about what significance and moral weight the uncovered truths hold
    • "The fact remains that I did what I did. And Mother did what she did. And the rest of you did what you did to her. It’s still the same rotten story whether it’s been told to a police inspector or to somebody else.” - Eric
    • “But the whole thing’s different now… And the artful devil knew all the time nobody had died and the whole story was bunkum” - Mr Birling
    • “Everything we said had happened really had happened. If it didn’t end tragically, then that’s lucky for us. But it might have done.” - Sheila
    • Sheila and Eric insist  that the truths uncovered by the Inspector about the family’s actions still remain significant and entail moral consequences

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