Portrayal of the Abuse of Authority in J.B. Priestley’s Play An Inspector Calls based on Main Characters

October 23, 2020 by Essay Writer

Abuse of Authority

Some individuals possess greater authority than others. The possession of authority is beneficial and makes life more pleasant but although it brings so much ease to life, it can easily be abused to bring harm to others. In the play, An Inspector Call by JB Priestley, there are three characters that abuse their authority on a weaker character. Eric abuses his physical power, Arthur abuses his economic power, and Sybil abuses her power of social connections on Eva Smith.

Firstly, it is apparent that Eric abuses his physical power on Eva Smith. Eric do not love Eva but he gets with Eva just to fulfill his desire: I wasnt in love with her or anythingshe was a good sport. (Priestley, 49) He sees Eva as a sexual object and not as another human being. He forces himself on her, and takes advantage of her while he is drunk: I was in that state when a chap easily turns nasty- and I threatened to make a row. (Priestley, 49) Erics wrongful act is carried out by the excessive consume of alcohol, which takes away his control over himself, thus making him to create a big mistake. Eric abuses his physical power on Eva, resulting her to get pregnant.

Secondly, Arthur abuses his economic power over Eva. Even though Arthur is wealthy, he is not willing to share little bit of his wealth with those who work hard to run his factory. He rejects their request when they ask for three more shillings: I refused. Said I couldnt consider it. We were paying the usual rates, they could go and work somewhere else. Its a free country, I told them. (Priestley, 12) Arthur cannot care more about anything but money so he rejects Evas request for three more shillings and instead he fires her for it, even though Eva was one of the hard working employee. Arthur is a big capitalist who believes that he does not have responsibility to help anyone, and so he does not consider what situation Eva is in, when he fires her. Arthurs abuse on Eva puts her in a desperate situation by economically bankrupting her.

Lastly, Sybil abuses her power of social connection over Eva. Sybil is the character that leads Eva to commit suicide by rejecting Evas last cry for help: I didnt like her manner. Shed impertinently made use of our name, though she pretended afterwards it just happened to be the first she though of (Priestley, 42) Sybil is from a high class and she is even more pompous and arrogant than any other characters in the play. She has social connections, which provide her with great authority that can annihilate and torture someone as weak as Eva. Evas request for help in the Brumley Womans Charity Organization is the last help she asks for as a poor lady in the streets who is about to go through her labour. Evas explanation to Sybil about her desperate situation does not convince Sybil at all and Sybil rejects to help her just because she dose not like Evas manner, the fact that Eva introduces herself as Mrs. Birling. As a lady working in the charity organization, Sybil is suppose to help anyone who asks for help, but she rejects Eva with no apparent reason. It is not reasonable excuse for Sybil to reject a poor persons request for help, just because the persons manner bothers her. Sybil cares more about her family name rather than saving someones life. The rejection from the charity organization brings Eva down to where she could no longer carry out her life. Like other characters, Sybil also parts in leading Eva to her death, but Sybils responsibility over Evas death is somewhat greater than the other characters, since she works in a charity organization.

There are people who use their authority in helping others and creating a better place for everyone, but some people like Eric, Arthur and Sybil abuses their authority to bring harm to others who are weaker than themselves. The victim in the play is Eva Smith who gets physically abused, gets fired and gets rejected from a charity organization. Individuals like Eric, Arthur and Sybil have choices as to help or to reject to help others, and in the play the characters chooses not to help a weaker character. Around the world, there are millions of people like Eva who suffers from poverty, hunger and fear, and if everyone refuses to give them help, how will the world be like? Nobody is responsible to help other people, but some people help others even though they dont have to.

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