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An Inspector Calls

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Choose a play which deals with an issue of importance to society today. State what the issue is and go on to show how, through the plot and characters, the play increased your understanding of the issue. "An Inspector Calls" is a drama written by JB Priestley in 1945 and set in 1912. Priestley's convincing plot, characters and dialogue bring to light a central theme which is just as important an issue in society today as it was then. Priestley strongly emphasises the difference between upper and lower class and the message he conveys to the reader is that in order for society to function successfully, we must take responsibility for one another. "An Inspector Calls" is a moralistic play which tells the story of the upper class Birling family who are enjoying a dinner to celebrate the engagement of their daughter Sheila Birling to Gerald Croft. On first impressions the family seem rather pleased with themselves until an Inspector arrives to enquire about the suicide of a young girl named Eva Smith. ...read more.


Sybil Birling, wife to Arthur, is another character who, it transpires, was involved with Eva Smith before her suicide. We discover she refused a pregnant Eva aid money - when it was completely within her power to help her as chairwoman of a woman's charity organisation - because Eva used their family name as her own. Mrs Birling accepts absolutely no accountability for her dealings with Eva Smith. "I'm very sorry. But I think she had only herself to blame... she'd impertinently made use of our name... I did nothing I'm ashamed of or that won't beat investigation... I consider I did my duty... I accept no blame for it at all." These cold and unsympathetic words undeniably prove that Mrs Birling deems her treatment of Eva as completely acceptable. Her snobbish and arrogant manner towards Eva - a girl from a lower class than herself - causes her to show no compassion for her. She believes Eva is not deserving of her aid simply because she had the audacity to use her surname as her own. ...read more.


Her emotional reaction conveys an open and honest acceptance of her responsibility. As an audience, we believe her regret is genuine. This positive response to the Inspector's questioning in is complete contrast to her parents'. Priestley here is effectively demonstrating a generation divide. I believe Priestley is using the younger family members to symbolise hope for the future. In conclusion, my analysis has shown that "An Inspector Calls" by JB Priestley is a play which highlights an important issue in society about taking responsibility for our treatment of others. Priestley is trying to teach us that it is vital we treat people fairly and with respect if we are ever to succeed in moving forward together as a community. In the play the younger family show more sympathy and concern for Eva, whilst the older generation is unwilling to change their attitudes and is merely concerned with their own wealth and status. The characters, plot and dialogue of the play make clear Priestley's view that we must make a conscious effort to improve our relationships with others and endeavour to perform our moral duties towards our fellow citizens. We must work together and help others in need. ...read more.

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