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An Inspector Calls

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Introduction

An Inspector Calls An Inspector Calls, set in 1912, is a play with many political and social messages. J. B. Priestley believed very much in socialism and believed that many other people needed to be more caring about their society, and people in it. Priestly was a firm and determined socialist. During his life Priestley became very concerned about the consequences of social inequality in Britain. He wanted to ensure life after the war was better and fairer than it had been before, a view which was widely echoed by the public. Priestley uses the character of the Inspector to convey his own thoughts, feelings and opinions about social issues. However, he also uses other characters, particularly Mr Birling, to show the audience how sceptical some people can be, and what the public's vision of the future was in 1912. When Priestley wrote this play in 1945, Britain was recovering from years of war, danger and uncertainty, classes had collapsed, and women had earned a more valued place in society. ...read more.

Middle

This builds up suspense for the audience, and puts the audience at an advantage over the characters and makes us feel more involved as a result. Mr Birling is optimistic for the future, and confident that there will not be a war. As the audience knows there will be a war, we begin to doubt Mr Birling's judgement. Priestley wanted the audience to have a low opinion of Birling because he was trying to show that people like Birling are at fault for social inequality. When Mr Birling makes his speech he makes several points which Priestley himself disagrees with, he uses the Inspector as a method to make a point to both the Birling family and the audience that we shouldn't all "Look out for our own" which is how Birling describes it. This highlights the point that we are "members of one body" and that we are responsible for one another, which is what Priestley wanted the play to emphasise. ...read more.

Conclusion

These devices both entertained and also persuaded, the audience came away with the idea that the Birlings acted very irresponsibly, and that if both the Birlings and the audience did not change they really would be "taught in fire and blood and anguish." There are three main rules of unities often used in plays to emphasise changing of tension and atmosphere throughout the play. Priestley uses all three unities. The use of unity of time being one evening, the unity of place being a strongly polished, and highly present living room, and the unity of action being the interrogation of Eva Smith's death. The play is effective due to Priestley keeping to these rules. The three unities give the effect of the audience being there and having a direct view of the different emotions and varying atmosphere created during scenes. The change from the strong, commanding speech made by Mr Birling, to the cringing of the Birling family in the presence of the Inspector is entertaining and involving. This builds suspense and tension, which in turn made the audience feel more involved with the play. ...read more.

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