The inspector brings along lots of disagreement between the characters through his inquiry. Write about the conflicts of the play.The question is for the book An Inspector Calls.

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Your question goes to the heart of one of the central themes to do with this play - that of the differences in reactions between the different generations to their own exposed guilt and involvement in Eva Smith's suicide.

From the start, Eric and Sheila show real compassion at the news of Eva Smith's death. In comparison, their parents grow increasingly defensive about their involvment in Eva's death. The children show compassion and deep sensitivity at what has happened. They side against their father, arguing that Eva had every right to campaign for a higher salary, and Eric, for example, says: "I understand a lot of things now that I didn't understand before." This is in sharp contrast to remarks from Mr. Birling such as: "Well really, I don't know. I think we've just about come to an end of this wretched business" and when he tells Inspector Goole that "you weren't asked to come here to talk about my responsibility." It is clear that Eric and Sheila can understand the message of the play, of common responsibility, whilst their parents remain firmly opposed to the truth of their own responsibility and involvement.

These differences in response are symbolic. the fact that Sheila and Eric remorsefully admit their part in Eva Smith's death gives us hope for the future as we come to believe that the future generations will be able to fulfill their moral obligations towards their fellow humans, rather than just being hell-bent on material gain.

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An Inspector Calls

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