"An Inspector Calls" confronts us with the death of Eva Smith, a girl that has been driven to suicide. The question put forward in this play is: "Are the Birlings, or any single one of the Birlings, just to blame, or are we, as society, responsible?" .
"An Inspector Calls" was written in 1945, a time when there was a lot of guilt about the Holocaust. Priestly wrote the play for people to realise that: "We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other." He set the play at a time when society was oblivious to actions and their knock on affects.
J.B. Priestly intensely believes in moral responsibility, a theme that flows strongly throughout the play. He expresses his views through the Inspector, when he, in a way, preaches his message. Priestly believes that people's actions do affect others. Whether they are good or bad, we all are liable for the fortunes or misfortunes of others.
It is hard to assign the blame for the death of Eva Smith on one person. Each character comes into contact with her and altered her life for the next person to get involved.
The first person to come in contact with Eva Smith is Arthur Birling. The playwrigt sets Birling up as a right wing, pompous factory owner. He remarks; "-that a man has to mind his own business and look after himself- showing that he doesn't believe society exist. In the middle of his speech, the doorbell rings. This notifies to the audience that the play writer's views are completely different to those of Arthur Birling. .
Priestly uses dramatic irony to show the foolishness of Arthur Birling. When Birling is making his speech, celebrating his daughter's engagement, he implies that in 1940s, "There"ll be peace and prosperity and rapid progress everywhere-" showing that he believes that the, "silly little war scares" are nothing to go by.
Birling fires Eva Smith because she asks for a raise. He felt that she was a troublemaker and that it was his duty, "to keep labour costs down.