To What Extent Is "An Inspector Calls" a Socialist Play?

Topics: Socialism, An Inspector Calls, Marxism Pages: 3 (1213 words) Published: March 13, 2011
To what extent is “An Inspector calls” a socialist play?

J.B Priestley uses his play as tool to get across his message of socialism. Priestley was a well known socialist and so would obviously want to express his views in some way. Priestley uses “AIC” to convey his views on capitalism and socialism: he uses the Inspector and some of the other characters as his mouthpiece of socialism, and uses some of the more arrogant and ugly characters to represent capitalism. Priestley would obviously be one sided in the play because he would be opposed to capitalism.

Priestley wants us to see Edwardian society in a bad way: he wants his modern audience to feel as though the Edwardian society was wrong. Mr Birling and Mrs Birling, and Gerald are the personifications of Edwardian society. Priestley wants us to see the whole of the Edwardian Society as arrogant, foolish and over-confident. Mr Birling’s belief that the` economy will get better, the titanic being indestructible and the impossibility of war. Because of the time setting, the modern audience knows that Mr Birling is wrong about all of those things. “The titanic…unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable…there’ll be peace and prosperity everywhere”. Mr Birling/ Priestley views on Edwardian society also seems to be very prejudice, making it seem that he is arrogant about other society’s. “Prosperity and rapid progress everywhere-except of course in Russia, which will always be behind naturally”.

Mr Birling is the personification of capitalism: a form of government that Priestley was openly against. So it is obvious that he would want to attack it. “AIC” allows Priestley to openly attack capitalism through the use of the Inspector. The Inspector ultimately has power throughout the play as Priestley would want, as the Inspector is his mouthpiece: he wants capitalism to seem less powerful verbally and intellectually when compared to Socialism. Mr Birling is portrayed to be more interested in business than his family. He...
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