"An Inspector Calls": Issues and Priestly's Viewpoint
22nd March 1997
Martin Howitt 11W
Discuss some of the issues raised in "An Inspector Calls" and show how Priestly expresses his own viewpoint in the play.
The play is set in the 1912 on an English street scene in the evening.
The plot of "An Inspector Calls" is about a police inspector who interrupts an elegant engagement dinner party to question the family and their guests about an unsuspected suicide of a young working-class girl called Eva Smith. There are many plot twists and changes which work well with the characters portrayed in Priestley's play. The play is set in an upper-class household where class distinctions are breaking down, where privilege and responsibility are being challenged by a devious so-called inspector Goole.
The Inspector does a good job of making the family and friends of Mr Birling, (a wealthy factory owner) feel very guilty for contributing towards the death of Eva-Smith who also becomes known as Daisy Renton during the play. But Moral guilt is not the major issue put forward in the play. The major issue is that of how class-conscious England has been put forward in the play and how the Capitalist's and Socialist's are shown. Birling is a ruthless industrialist who worked extremely hard to make his money, and when he finally reaches the top his wealth and popularity is threatened by a suicide scandal.
The characters are a mixture of Capitalist's and Socialist's, Mr Birling being a self made upper-class Capitalist, his wife also has great belief in the family name, and works hard to keep a good reputation for herself and her family. The secretive but most sympathetic of the Birling's is Eric their son, who has a great deal to do with the Suicide of Eva Smith. Eric's sister is Sheila who gets on well with Eric but seems rather spoilt. Another key member in the play is Sheila's fiancée Gerald Croft who is another wealthy industrialist, although Gerald...
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