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An Inspector Calls

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An Inspector Calls J B Priestly was born in 1894, his main passion in life was writing and this dream he achieved being very successful, his first novel being The Good Companions, written in 1929. Five years later in 1934 Priestly wrote An Inspector Calls, which he set in 1912. The play is about an upper class family consisting of: Arthur Birling (a heavy looking portentous man in his mid fifties.) Sybil Birling (wife of Arthur.) Sheila Birling (daughter of Sybil and Arthur, in her early twenties.) Eric Birling (Sheila's brother also in his early twenties.) Also Gerald Croft (Sheila's respectable fianc� of about thirty.) All of the characters are dressed in the dress of the period and the whole play is based in the Birlings living room. The family are celebrating in the dining room until the doorbell rings and an inspector enters. He informs the family that a young girl, Eva Smith had just committed suicide and the Birling family agree to answer any questions he asks, believing that a respectable family such as theirs could never be involved in such a tragedy. The Inspector begins by questioning Birling, who two years ago sacked Eva Smith from his factory because she had been campaigning for higher wages for the workers. ...read more.


The Inspector would be standing by the window casting his eyes over towards the poor area of the town. The lights would be down with a candle burning brightly on the windowsill casting an eerie glow across The Inspector's face, again showing mystery. We hear nothing except for the nervous shuffling of the other characters feet and slow music playing lowly in the background. We can vaguely see The Inspector's face glowing in the window, a painful look fleetingly flashes across his usually cool expression, which quickly returns to normal. Sheila would be near Gerald looking calm until you look deep into her eyes where you can see fright and apprehension, wondering what will this man spring onto them next. She would be fiddling with her fingers nervously realising that life is not what she believes it to be, but that there are many people homeless and starving people in the world. Gerald would be looking slightly towards Sheila, casting a worrying eye on the usually happy fun-loving girl that he loves. Birling would be staring towards the audience near to Sheila and Gerald the cold hard expression softened by The Inspector's words. ...read more.


Sheila is sitting in an armchair at the other side of the room crying quietly but taking in every single word the inspector is saying. Mrs Birling is near Sheila on another chair, also crying. Eric is in the background still trying to get over the shock and staring at The Inspector watching his every move. Birling is standing nearest The Inspector looking into the fire and at the same time watching The Inspector. Casting a glance over towards his whimpering family the audience sees the pain and realisation crossing his face. There is silence in the room and we hear The Inspector's voice ringing out coolly, the fire crackling, the thunder rumbling and the music emphasising the words of The Inspector and the feeling in the room as it rises and falls with the mood. The Inspector turns around quickly and seems to vanish under his long coat then through the door and we hear a loud bang. I think that Priestly wrote this story to teach people that your sins may one day catch up with you and change your life forever. I think that he meant for The Inspector to be an Embodiment of Societies Conscience, this is because in The Inspector's last words he says, "We don't all live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other." By Rachel Johnson ...read more.

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  1. Directors notes and stage instructions for An Inspector Calls

    and to let the child go to bed, but not the Inspector. The Inspector even requests that Gerald stay as he is marrying Sheila yet does not explain why, this increases tension and makes the audience think that Sheila has done something that Gerald should know about. Inspector: 'I see.

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    He says: "I'd have managed somehow! I had to have some money" As the play progresses, the involvement with Eva Smith increases. The audience sympathise more and more with her allowing the Inspector to put his point across more forcefully.

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    had driven her to take her own life. She must have been very desperate and felt so insignificant, she must have felt like no-one cared about her, she may as well not exist. She must have been through a lot of bad experiences to have such lack of respect for her own life, which appeared to be going nowhere.

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