Priestley uses “An Inspector Calls” as a political diatribe to critique the 1920 society and more specifically Capitalism

Priestley uses “An Inspector Calls” as a political diatribe to critique the 1920 society and more specifically Capitalism. The use of the play is allegorical as the characters are symbolic of various things including politics and moral values. More specifically. Eva Smith is used to present women of the working and lower classes who fell victim to the immorality of society at the time.

With reference to Eva Smith / Daisy Renton, Priestley uses her name metaphorically. The noun “Eva” has links to Eve from “the Garden of Eden” and much like the biblical story where Eva is too corrupted by the snake and ruined by the Birlings, “died in agony”. Additionally, the surname “Smith” is the most commonly used surname in Britain and therefore Priestley subtly implies that many women are subject to mistreatment as a result of capitalist ideals.

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Moreover, the use of the noun “Daisy” is symbolic of purity and innocence and we see that innocence is also ruined at the hands of the Birlings and upper class individualism. When placed alongside the surname “Renton” which is a play on the word “renting”, a word used in 1912 when hiring / paying for a prostitute, the name becomes its own oxymoron and another means by which Priestley critiques Capitalism. Renting also literally means “pay to use”, “hire” there is a subtle link to the language Gerald uses when he uses a lexical field associated with the workplace to describe Daisy, “install” “business”. This dehumanisation further enhances the disparity between the two classes.