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an inspector calls

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Introduction

How does Priestley get his message across in "An Inspector calls"? J.B Priestley is the writer of the play 'An Inspector Calls'. The play is based in the period of 1912; however, it was in the year 1946 that he decided to get his message across: The importance of the welfare state. The First World War began in 1914 and the Second World War ended in 1945. Between these years, the world changed in many ways- there was a lot of time and money being spent on people thinking up ways to kill each other. The Russian Revolution also took place. (see the novel "Animal Farm", by George Orwell- which is created in a similar manner to 'An Inspector Calls') This was an area where the Royal Family was abolished. Initially, there was democracy, then communism. The play is about the death of a young woman, called Eva Smith- her demise relates to a family of the early 20th century. Through this story, Priestley finds clever ways in which to diminish his audience, although the time lapse allows them to not take it too personally. ...read more.

Middle

This also tells us he is very unthoughtful, and he is the sort of person who is ignorant, and wouldn't want himself to 'go down to someone else's level'. Priestley is attempting to convey to his audience that Mr Birling needs to change, and not only Mr Birling, but the rest of the society that is comparable to him. There were a lot of dissimilarities between the upper and lower class, in 1912. Priestley knew this, so he intentionally set the play in that particular period of time. Everybody would have thought society would never change, however, by 1945; class distinctions had been greatly reduced. Priestley uses dramatic irony through the character Arthur Birling, as he mentions the 'Titanic- an unsinkable ship'. Of course, this play came forth after it had sunk; so this comment was purely yet another way for Priestley to manipulate his audience into understanding Birling's arrogance and deliberately make them feel as though they are more knowledgeable than he. Mr Birling is from a higher class family, which is the reason why he doesn't want to feel intimidated which, as a result, has a conceited attitude towards the inspector- whilst being under the pressure of the interrogation. ...read more.

Conclusion

When the inspector questions her about why she did not help Eva Smith in particular, she admits to being prejudice against her case. "...I think it was simply a piece of gross impertinence...naturally that was one of the things that prejudiced me against her case". Mrs Birling is also portrayed as being 'unfeeling'; because of her reluctance to realise she is partly to blame for Eva's death. "I'm very sorry. But I think she had only herself to blame". Priestley would have wanted civilization to revolutionize, as he makes his audience realise how the conditions of living could seriously affect someone's life, thus, everything that the Inspector said to the characters, was really intended at his audience. Later on in the play, the Inspector informs Mrs Birling that Eva was pregnant, which creates even more sympathy for her. Mrs Birling responds to this news quite harshly- "Secondly, I blame the young man who was the father of the child" The Inspector then shows her up to be hypocritical, as he also reveals that the father of the baby was her prized her son, Eric. Mrs Birling goes into denial, and does not want to believe what she is hearing. "(Agitated) I don't believe it...I won't believe it..." ...read more.

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