An Inspector Calls Notes

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The playwright of 'An Inspector Calls' John Boynton Priestly was alive between 1894 and 1984, in this time he served in the First World War where in 1916 he was badly injured. It wasn't until the end of the Second World War in 1945 that he wrote 'An Inspector Calls'; he chose to set the play thirty years in the past before either wars had happened- in 1912. Priestly was a renowned socialist and highly respected in his time- with his own radio show which around twenty million tuned into each week. Unfortunately, Priestley was seen as too popular- for the conservative government at the time- and taken off air for fear that communities would listen to his left wing ideas more then the prime minister, Winston Churchill. Priestley's ideas of socialism and morality are a frequent undertone throughout the play and enforce the main theme of the play: responsibility. Because of the timing of the play it is believed that 'An Inspector Calls' was supposed to send a clear message to the audience of Britain's shared responsibility in both wars. In act 1 The Birling family and Gerald are celebrating Gerald and Sheila's engagement in the dining room. Sheila and Eric are arguing in a not really serious way, while Gerald and Mr. Birling are talking about business, politics mostly about the Titanic. Mr. Birling is on his way to the next social class by getting an knighthood. Lady Croft has a very strong view of social classes; it looks like she isn't too happy about the fact, that her son is engaged to a girl of a lower class. Just before the ring bells and the inspector arrives, Mr. Birling shows his outlook on life to Gerald and Eric "a man has to make his own way, has to look after himself and his family". The inspector enters and tells them about the suicide. He shows a photograph to Mr.Birling. and starts questioning him. It turns out that Eva Smith had been one of Mr.Birlings. employees and later on was discharged because she asked for more money, had been refused and went...
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