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An Inspector Calls

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An Inspector Calls "We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other". What is Priestley's main aim in "An Inspector Calls"? How successfully does he achieve it? "We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other". This is the statement made by Inspector Goole in the play "An Inspector Calls" by JB Priestley. The Inspector makes the statement in his last, long speech. The speech is near to the end of the play, as it is just before he leaves the house of the Birlings. The events that have taken place prior to this speech are as follows. The inspector arrived just after Gerald Croft had proposed to Sheila Birling, who said yes. Inspector Goole informed them of a suicide by a young woman named Eva Smith who had just died on the way to the infirmary. He questioned them and found out that all of them were implicated to her death. Arthur Birling had sacked her from work because of a strike. Sheila Birling made her lose her job at Milwards unfairly. Gerald Croft gave her money and a place to stay and then took it back from her. ...read more.


But because it is also a "morality" play it has quite a lot of good qualities. It has several ways in which it involves morality, ethics and values into what the characters have done. Most of the characters have committed sins, such as misuse of power, greed and overruling of pride over kindness. The misuse of power is committed by all the characters mainly because they do have a lot of power to misuse. This is something Priestley must have been emphasising in the play, as it appears so many times. I believe that you can interpret the message Priestley is trying to put through in many different ways but certain points are made obvious through their frequency. All the characters react in different ways to being incorporated in Eva Smith's death. Mr Birling denies being in the wrong and says that he was just doing his job. He makes it seem as if he had no other choice or option to turn to. He acts as if he wasn't at all responsible for Eva Smith's death and that it had been along time ago that he had sacked her. Mrs Birling also denies all the charges and says that she was just doing her "duty". ...read more.


He makes a message that if we (the people) are all responsible for each other and our actions effect those around us because our lives are intertwined. And if we don't learn from what has happened then we will live in "fire blood and anguish" and be taught. Those are the last words of the inspector and should have an affect on an audience. This play is actually quite interesting and gets you quite involved in the plot. You want to figure out what will happen next before you are told. You also feel like you should think about what they have been saying in the hidden messages. You see faults of what you have personally done. This makes it a success as both a mystery, detective story and as a morality play. It would not be as good a play and as effective a message carrier if the play wasn't based so much on morals and values. The play doesn't really do anything as just a "whodunnit" or a "morality" play, but as one it is quite wonderful. The main reasons for the success is that Priestley had the time advantage of setting it in 1912 and showing it in 1945. This is a masterpiece of playwriting for political and social ideas, as it gives the audience everything Priestley wanted to give them and teach them at the time. ...read more.

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