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‘We don’t live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other.’What is Priestley’s main aim in An Inspector Calls? How successfully does he achieve this aim?

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English Essay 'We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other.' What is Priestley's main aim in An Inspector Calls? How successfully does he achieve this aim? The play An Inspector Calls was set in 1912 and produced in 1945 and based on actions of individuals in an upper class family. An Inspector Calls starts off as a usual 'who-dunnit play', where the audience has to try and find out who killed an individual - Eva Smith. Although as the play progresses it shows the audience that the whole Birling family and Gerald Croft are to blame for the suspicious death. The ending of the play leaves the audience to come to their own conclusion about how the family, and the society of 1912 are going to alter. I think Priestley's main aim is: A call for a fairer, collectivist society where the privileged support the poor, where everyone has the same rights, and for the privileged not to be able to use their influence to punish others. To start with Arthur Birling sacks her from her job at his works for wanting her wage raised, then she's taken on at Milwards, a clothes shop. Then Shelia, Arthur's daughter complains about her, and she is sacked. ...read more.


G. Wellses do all the talking', with people like Arthur Birling, and their companies in control of Britain's economical growth back then, it's not surprising that this backs up the idea of a collectivist society. By the end of the play, when the family have found out the inspector was a hoax, he dismisses the whole situation that had just happened and seems to find it a evil joke, P70 'Come on, Sheila don't look like that. All over now.' And P71 'You'll have a good laugh over it yet.' Sybil Just like Mr. Birling she is also part of the older generation in the play, and just like Arthur is also hung up on social status. In 1912 there was an obvious line between the classes, which Sybil realises P30 'I don't suppose for a moment that we can understand why the girl committed suicide. Girls of that class.' She only believed things that she wanted too, like when everybody else knew about Eric's major drinking habits, she is shocked P32 'No, of course not. He is only a boy.' And P50 'Besides, you're not the type - you don't get drunk.' The inspector picks up her tendency to only believe what she wants P41'You mean you don't choose to do, Mrs. Birling.' ...read more.


Sheila helps get Priestley's point over to the audience better than Eric because of her dramatic acting, where as Eric comes across as a nervous character. They are both part of the younger generation so are more open to new ideas, like the collectivist idea. On the whole they believe in this idea, which is why they don't get on with their parents. Conclusion Priestley's main aim then, is for a fairer, more equal collectivist society. I think he gets his aim across subtly to the audience but relatively well, even though he only gets through to two characters in the play (Eric and Sheila.) It was good the way he showed the downfalls of an individualistic society using the views and actions of the older generation in the play (Arthur and Sybil) to prove and backup his aim. Furthermore he uses the more open to new ideas, younger generation to believe in the collectivist points and making them turn on their elders in a contradictory, tense play of opposing opinions. The best thing he does though is leaves the audience to come to their own conclusions about how the family would react to their situation at the ending of the play. Would the family believe in a collectivist or individualistic society or would they agree to disagree? Who would come out the strongest to prove their ideas on society, the elders or the younger generation? Christopher Leek Page 4 ...read more.

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