An Inspector's Calls by J. B. Priestley: Synopsis

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‘An Inspector’s Calls’ is a play that was written by J.B. Priestley in 1945 but set in Edwardian England 1912. The play is set in a fictional industrial city in the North Midlands called Brumley. The fictional industrial city of Brumley would have been typical of many towns, as in the town there would be factory owners, who would provide much needed jobs, this meant that the factory owners were able to run their businesses any way they wanted to. These factory owners were more important in 1912 than they are now, as many industrialists got rich in the 1800s. For example, men like Arthur Birling may have come from a modest background but his new wealth helped him climb up the social ladder, gaining both a lot of power and respect. This meant Arthur Birling was foolish and ignorant at times, as he thought he knew better. For example, ‘The Titanic – she sails next week... and unsinkable absolutely unsinkable.’ This quotation also shows dramatic irony as the Titanic sank on her maiden voyage after hitting an iceberg on 14 April 1912. The play is about a family called the Birling family. The opening scene is when the Birling family is having dinner, celebrate Sheila’s and Gerald Croft’s engagement. However, the celebrations are short lived as a police Inspector’s named Goole arrives. He makes enquires about the suicide of Eva Smith. As the play unfolds we find out that everyone in the family was involved in helping to kill Eva Smith. The whole play takes place in the Birling’s family dining room. Priestley during the 1930's became very anxious about the consequences of social inequality in Britain. So in 1942 Priestley, with the help of others, set up a new political party, called the Common Wealth Party which argued for public ownership of land, greater democracy, and a new "morality" in politics. Priestley believed that everyone should have equal rights and this right should not depend on how much wealth a person has. Priestley’s character is portrayed in ‘An...
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