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An Inspector Calls

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An Inspector Calls By Katie Cook 10S1 J. B. Priestly was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, 1894. After surviving the First World War, he went on to study literature, history and political science at Bradford and at Cambridge. Priestly wanted to ensure life after the First World War was better than before and he hoped that through his writing he could influence people's ideas and change society. 'An Inspector Calls' is a play set in 1912 about the capitalist Birling family who are visited one night by an Inspector, Inspector Goole, who reveals that a young woman, Eva Smith, has died after swallowing a lot of strong disinfectant. He questions all the Birling family who are all revealed to have played a part in Eva's downward spiral of depression and ultimately, suicide. J. B. Priestly wrote 'An Inspector Calls' in 1945 but deliberately set it in 1912, a time where socialism was often losing out to capitalism. He was particularly concerned about the living conditions of the lower classes, represented by Eva, and the way the upper classes behaved, represented by the Birlings' and Gerald Croft, Sheila Birling's fianc�. Priestly believed that we should all help each other, which is the total opposite from what the Birlings believed. Priestly set the play 33 years after he'd wrote it, this gives the audience a knowledge that the characters don't have. ...read more.


This behaviour changes in the play and Sheila ends up becoming 'distressed' and 'miserable'. This is a very important factor in the play. Priestly is using the inspector to symbolise the conscience of the nation and through him challenges each of the characters that represent a part of society. In this way he shows how the younger generation are more likely to change their social views (Sheila and Eric) rather than the older generation (Arthur and Sybil) or the upper classes symbolised by Gerald Croft. Dramatic use of Timing is used to either make certain characters look stupid or to emphasis a point to the audience. For example Mr Birling is in full flow of a capitalist speech that makes his views very clear. He talks about how 'a man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own.' Inspector Goole's arrival interrupts this speech. It shows that the Inspector is trying to stop this kind of belief before he's even spoken, just by arriving and stopping Mr Birling's speech. Later on in Act 3 the Inspector contradicts Mr Birling's speech when the Inspector tells the Birling's 'We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other,' this is the complete opposite to Arthur Birling's views and it leaves the audience with J. ...read more.


B. Priestly's message, Capitalism is unfair and wrong. The Inspector is shown as a socialist man and we feel that he stands for all J. B. Priestly's views. Through this character we find out that Priestly is a socialist man who is angered by injustice and unfairness in the world. We notice that the Inspector's name is 'Goole' which reminds us of Ghouls or Ghosts, this gives us the impression that the Inspector is a ghostly man and he appears at the Birling's house unannounced. When the Inspector gives the Birling's a talk about responsibility he appears to represent the conscience of the nation. This idea of the Inspector being a ghostly symbol is further built on in the play when Gerald shows his concerns towards the Inspector and upon investigation, Gerald discovers that no girl has committed suicide but yet the Inspector was able to find out so much information about the characters actions. This makes the audience wonder how this could have happened, how the inspector could get all these characters to admit to their wrong doings when no girl had even died. We are also shown through out the play the stubbornness and ignorance of the older generation. Priestly is trying to show the audience that it is very important that we, the younger generation, change are actions and views just as Gerald, Eric and Sheila did in the play. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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  1. J.B. Priestly was a playwright concerned with the ideas of capitalism, socialism, individual and ...

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