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An Inspector Calls.

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Introduction

An Inspector Calls The message of the play is "We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other." Priestley conveys this message through a story of a girl who was driven to suicide by members of one family. All were unaware of the fact they all knew her. The play was written in 1946, but set in 1912. This relates to the message because its audience will know from the wars that people can affect the lives of others e.g. Hitler and Stalin. Arthur Birling is portrayed as a pompous know-it-all whom you immediately dislike. He believes that society and the community is as it should be. The rich stay rich, the poor stay poor and there is a large gap between the two. He is a man who has worked his way up to the position he is in without inheritance, he believes that "a man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own". Throughout the play, however, we see that Priestley's views do not concur with Birling's and he has added statements to make the audience see Birling's views as false. ...read more.

Middle

says these things, he is of course talking not about Eva Smith, but about his own reputation and an upcoming public scandal. The attitude of Mr Birling, and his willingness to explain away the events of the evening to hoaxes and artfully crafted deception, all go towards the final twist in the plot - the Inspector returning to teach the Birlings their lesson again. This ties in with the idea that if you don't learn the lesson the first time, you will be taught it again, through "fire and blood and anguish". Eva Smiths story carries Priestley's view throughout the play. Due to the selfish actions of others she suffers a chain of bad luck leading to her premature death. First she asks for a rise from Mr Birling. He refuses and fires her. Next, while working in a clothes shop, Sheila (Mr Birling's daughter) requests for Eva to be fired. Then, while being harassed at a bar, Gerald (Sheila's fianc�) comes to rescue her, gives her a place to stay and supplies her with money. When he finally sent her back to the streets, she met Eric at the Palace Bar. ...read more.

Conclusion

Through the Inspector, the audience is educated in social understanding and behaviour, seeing the examples of the Birlings and hearing Inspector Goole's prediction. Sheila also contributes to our response to the Inspector because she is young and impressionable, when the Inspector puts forward a view on society she agrees with him. This shows that he has great power and influence. The ending symbolises the warning that the Inspector gave the Birlings. "If you do not learn your lesson the first time, you will be taught it again in fire and anguish." Priestley uses the dramatic twist of the Inspector returning at the end of the play, to emphasise this point, he makes it more effective by placing it just as the characters are beginning to relax, believing it was all a hoax. It serves to prick the consciences of both the characters and the audience. I believe the aim of Priestley when he wrote this play, was to make us think about our beliefs. He wanted to give us a sense of responsibility and make a difference in the world. He did this with a set of characters that everyone would be able to relate to. Robert Matwiejczyk ...read more.

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