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Account for the success and popularity of 'An Inspector Calls' over fifty-eight years.

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Account for the success and popularity of 'An Inspector Calls' over fifty-eight years. Refer to one or two scenes in your answer. Priestley wrote 'An Inspector Calls' in 1945. The play is set in the year 1912 and is at first sight a 'straightforward detective thriller' as Tim Bezant says in his Introduction. Mysteries appeal to everybody. This may be because there is a lot of suspense, causing tension. If 'An Inspector Calls' is a very popular play, this is probably one of the main reasons. This work also explores the changes that take place - or not, as the case may be - in human beings when their consciences are affected. It is, above all, a play with a message. At the very beginning the author introduces all the characters and establishes the idea of a happy and united family looking forward to the future with a degree of confidence. As this is a typical family the audience is engrossed in the play because we are fascinated with gossip and what events occur in other people's lives. An example of this is in the soap opera, 'Eastenders'. ...read more.


The year in this scene is supposed to be in 1912; however this argument is exactly the same as the one employers use today to the unions when they are demanding a pay rise. Employees do get more protection these days than Eva Smith had. Nevertheless, employees are still at a disadvantage. An example of this in the twenty-first century is when the UK fire fighters were in dispute with their employers over pay. They reached an agreement with their employers, but the government ruined the deal, by saying that the pay increase had to be funded by modernisation of their terms and conditions. Knowing this, the audience feels sympathy for Eva Smith losing her job, and creates a relationship with Eva Smith's character. By now the audience probably thinks that Mr Birling is the one guilty of Eva Smith's death, but in no time at all the Inspector is interrogating Sheila. This continues until every member of the family has been questioned. This creates suspense making the audience feel engrossed in the play, wondering at each stage, who is going to be involved next, and how. ...read more.


The audience feels sympathy towards Eva Smith and is curious to see if the Birlings have learnt from their mistake. Priestley has shown us how middle class people act in society and the way in which they regard lower citizens. He hopes we will realise how the younger generations are the ones who can change the society in which we live. He shows this when Mr and Mrs Birling learn nothing from their mistakes whereas Eric and Sheila do. The Inspector brings the play to a close, summarising Priestley's message when he says 'We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other' exactly the opposite to what we are told to believe by Mr Birling, that everybody should look after themselves. Priestley conveys his message well, showing us how the situation can be changed and who to depend on to change it. I think the success and popularity of 'An Inspector Calls' accounted for by the fact that it is very entertaining as there is a mixture of suspense and mystery but is also a play that conveys a moral message. This makes the play appeal to a widest possible audience especially the middlebrow. English Shraddha Patel Page:1 ...read more.

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