An Inspector Calls Coursework 1

Topics: An Inspector Calls, Working class, Social class Pages: 6 (2199 words) Published: January 6, 2011
Throughout the play An Inspector Calls JB Priestly uses the characters to portray the different levels of society. He does this so as to give each class a moral belief and name. The play is called 'An Inspector calls' and was written in 1946 by J.B. Priestly. It is set in the year 1912, in between the time in which it was set and the year it was written two world wars had taken place. In 1912 classes were very different and were socially divided. There was a lot of poor people and very few rich people. A lot of the rich people disliked the working class and disrespected them. He uses the characters Mr and Mrs Birling to represent capitalists they are middle class and only out for themselves. They bid for higher prices and pay their labourers little so they make as much profit as possible. Gerald is of a higher middle class and is much younger, he has some empathy for the lower class but is still very much a capitalist. His parents Lady and Lord Croft are of a higher status than the Birlings but they share the same socialistic views. Both Eric and Sheila have a lot of empathy for Eva Smith, they were brought up by capitalist parents which means that their judgement can be swayed to a capitalist view but morally they see what they have done and are willing to accept that. The inspector, represents JB Priestly's views of society. The Inspector's last speech sums up how Priestly feels about capitalism and such.

"but just remember this. One Eva Smith has gone but there are millions and millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths with us, with their lives, their hopes and fears, their suffereing and chance of happiness, all interwined with our lives, and what we think and say and do. We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. And I tell that the time will soon come when if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and aguish"

In this play JB Priestly is aiming to make his audience think again about their views and make them realise that everyone should be responsible for everybody else.

Mr Birling is a middle class, wealthy business man who used to be "an alderman for years - and lord mayor two years ago" he is a magistrate and talks of his "way into the next honours list. Just a knighthood" He is described as being "heavy looking" and as being "in his middle fifties." Through the inspector's questioning the audience are made aware of all aspects good and bad. His good side being that he cares about his daughter getting married to his fiancée "treating Gerald like on of the family." His bad points being a mans priority - his work and reputation. He comes across a being very mean, cruel and even extremely pompous as a complete snob - in his opinion, his and only his views are correct. Since he is a self made man he thinks that every man is for himself and is strongly against collective responsibility. This is a part he tries to imprint into much of Gerald and Eric. He does this by preaching to them, "The worlds developing so fast that it'll make war impossible" an example of Dramatic irony which Priestley uses alot throughout the play.

Priestly attempts to convey the part that these values are incorrect and though the inspectors final speech he lets the audience know that:

"if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught in fire and blood and anguish"

The most important factor of Mr Birlings character is that he is incapable of change: Priestly wants the audience to know that change is the key. As well as Priestly the audience or the reader can see that the fire, blood and anguish is referring to the war, therefore the audience should realise that the moral lessons are not only meant for the Birlings but also for the audience. If the Arthur Birlings of this world don't change war will never cease. Mrs Birling is the wife of Arthur, she is an extremely callus woman who is very out of touch with the reality of...
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