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An Inspector Calls

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se "An Inspector Calls" is a play written just after the end of the Second World War, but set before the War. J.B Priestly wrote it to present his socialist views on society. These views are represented through different characters, the way they act throughout the play and the way they act towards each other. At the beginning of the play, Priestley sets out an extensive series of stage directions, He uses them expertly and very dramatically and symbolically. He uses these stage directions to depict how the Birling family are cold, distant people; he presents them this way to show how capitalism has corrupted them. He makes it evident from the start that the family are very well off; Priestly does this by referring to "dessert plates" and "champagne glasses" which are typical of aristocracy of that time. However, the reader cannot deny an overwhelming sense of formality and a somewhat unfamiliarity between the family, evident when he writes "men are in tails and white ties" and it is "not cosy and homelike". Also, Priestly emphasises the emotional distance between Mr and Mrs Birling by situating them at opposite ends of the table, this could be once again to show that capitalism as a destructive and intrusive force, that once started is unstoppable. Interestingly, and somewhat ironic, included in the stage directions are the colour and brightness of the lighting, the type of lighting first used ...read more.


The Inspector brings the message home to the audience that they are "members of one body" and that they should try their best to help people like Eva Smith, otherwise, as the Inspector implies, "they will be taught in fire and blood and anguish". Dramatic irony is also used in many ways as a dramatic device. It is used to promote the Inspector yet mock Mr Birling. In Mr Birling's speech at the beginning of the play, he proudly states that "as a hard-headed businessman" he thinks that "there isn't a chance of war" and that the Titanic is "absolutely unsinkable". With the play being published after two world wars and the sinking of the Titanic, Priestley makes the audience think that Birling is a fool. I think that Mr Birling is used to represent how the average person was in Britain prior to the war. Whereas the Inspector states in his final speech that "they will be taught in fire and blood and anguish" indicating that there will be a war, is elevated by the use of dramatic irony. This persuades the audience that the socialist views of the Inspector are the way forward, instead of the 'foolish' views of Mr Birling. Priestly uses these opposing views of Birling and the inspector as a dramatic device constantly throughout the play. The inspector puts other people first, whereas Mr Birling believes that you are only responsible for yourself. ...read more.


Priestley also uses repetition in order to build up tension, even before the Inspector arrives Mr Birling keeps hinting that they might have done something wrong, he emphasises "so long as we behave ourselves" this is humorously ironic. Priestley also uses uneasy laughter and accusations between members of the Birling family, such as "unless Eric has done something", in order to build up tension. Priestley uses tension as a dramatic device in order to keep the audience interested and anxious to find out more, and so highlight to his socialist message. Priestley emphasises the difference between the upper and lower classes expertly throughout the play. Priestley shows how in 1912, Upper Class citizens, represented by the Birlings had no respect for Lower Class citizens, represented by Eva Smith. He uses this class divide to emphasise his message also to show that the rigidity of the class system is incompatible with his views on community and responsibility and most importantly Socialism. An Inspector calls is a great murder mystery story, but it is also a great moral, a somewhat type of fable, and full of socialistic views. Priestly shows the audience how not to live their lives, like the Birlings, but to live their lives like the Inspector. The story is still relevant in today's society because nothing much has changed in the way of us needing to be "one body". We all have to work together. ?? ?? ?? ?? AMDG 23/01/2008 Inspector Calls Essay ...read more.

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