An Inspector Calls

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‘An Inspector Calls’ was written in 1945 by J B Priestley. The play is set in the dining room of the Birling household in one evening in April 1912. The play was written in 1945 but is set in 1912 looking at the background history we can infer that he chose to set the play in 1912 because the social issues that were so prevalent in the labour strikes of 1912 were ill important in 1945, because the very definition of society means that human beings don’t live alone and that each one is responsible for their actions towards the other. By setting his characters in a time of innocence and hope, Priestley can speak even more strongly to his audiences who have lived through a time of despair. The pride and complacency of the Birlings seems all the more foolish to an audience who knows what is about to happen to the English people. The lessons that Eric and Sheila learn are even more poignant when one realizes that very soon all classes in England, upper, middle and lower, will be involved in the same tragic war. Mr Birling and Inspector Goole have opposing personalities. Their personalities are influenced by their political perspectives. Mr Birling is a capitalist and a very proud selfish man, on the other hand, the Inspector is a socialist and a kind and sympathetic man as he treats everybody equally. “An Inspector Calls” written by JB Priestly is well known as a morality play as it teaches and guides us to the right way of thinking about socialism which means the resources of the world being owned in common by the entire global population. In this essay, I will discuss how JB Priestly introduces the characters and how this has an impact on the audience. Furthermore, I will compare the relationship between Mr Birling and the Inspector. I will close by discussing the dramatic techniques used in the play by Mr Birling such as his ‘famous monologue’ and how the characters are influenced by the inspector to become better people through his use of language and ideas. The main theme of the play is trying to put across a strong view to respect each other and treat people as your equal, no matter what their race, status etc., may be. The play and its message, I believe, is aimed at the younger generation, who will one day have the power and influence to change the society we live in. The society of 1912 was divided into classes and how much money you had. People were not treated as equals and those of a lower class (e.g. Eva Smith), were treated with disrespect and no equality by those of a higher class with bullying attitudes and influences (e.g. Mr Birling and his family). The characters are first introduced in the exposition. In fact, we have a sense of what the characters may be like when the setting is described, and the setting is the first thing described in the play. Priestly has done this so that the audience have a negative view on the Birlings before they are introduced in the play separately and is warning how much a negative impact capitalism may have upon us. In addition, Priestley does not want us to feel sympathetic towards them suddenly, as he shows us further on in the play that this middle-class family aren’t very nice people. The first thing that is described is the Birlings house whereby the general effect is substantial and heavily comfortable, but not cosy and homelike. The fact that their house looks ‘comfortable’ suggests that the Birlings are quite rich and not working class. The word ‘heavily’ emphasises their status and wealth and indicates that they intend for people to think that they are extremely high in society. They have enough money and like to show off with it by making their house Arthur Birling is described as a "heavy-looking, rather portentous man in his middle fifties" the word “heavy-looking” suggesting that Arthur was rather fat or that he had a big body build, “rather portentous” illustrates that Arthur will be a rather significant character especially with regard to future events it also...
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