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An Inspector Calls

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The Inspector and Arthur Birling have very different views on responsibility. How does Priestley present these two speeches? Who does he want the audience to agree with? "An Inspector Calls" was written in 1945 but set in 1912 by Priestley. Priestley was a socialist and he wrote this play to reflect the views he held about social responsibility. Socialists believe that everyone is responsible for each other, that we are connected to each other through our actions, words and thoughts. The play is about a 'respectable' family who are interrogated about Eva Smith's suicide. The overall message of the play is that we do not live alone; we live in a community. We are responsible for each other, so what we do, think and say affects the lives of the people around us. Arthur Birling is the head of his manufacturing factory, Birling & Co. Eva Smith was working at his factory before she was fired from her factory-floor job. Before making his speech, Birling and the rest of his family were celebrating Sheila's engagement to Gerald Croft. Through his speech, Birling's point about responsibility is that a man should look after himself - and his family. As an audience, we get the impression that Birling's opinion is not too well informed from the speech he had previously made. ...read more.


Arthur Birling ridicules others during his speech. He criticises Socialists like the Inspector and Priestley. This language technique puts Birling in a weak position; it seems that all he can do is argue. The audience would take an instant dislike to Birling as he would be seen as a self-centered argumentative figure. A 1945 audience would also take a dislike to Birling, as due to the World Wars many of the younger generation died at the hands of the older generation. So, Birling would have been portrayed as egotistical, careless and selfish. Birling gets interrupted during his speech by the Inspector at an ironic time. It is ironic because the audience get the feeling Birling is to be contradicted by someone who is viewed by the audience as his inferior. Being interrupted by the Inspector gives the Inspector the higher edge. It gives the impression that the Inspector is about to contradict Birling. The Inspector is not interrupted, giving him the power and respect from the characters and from the audience. Priestley uses interruptions to make the Inspector seem a greater force than Birling, as a result more respect is presented to the Inspector. Birling uses the language technique of similes such as "like bees in a hive". Using similes, loses Birling's respectability from the audience and makes his argument appear weaker than the Inspector. ...read more.


The Inspector would possess a firm voice that draws in respect from the surrounding characters and the audience. As respect is being transmitted to the Inspector, silence should fall to convey the importance of the speech. In conclusion, I agree with the Inspector more than Birling. I found that the intensity of his speech was the right amount to draw in the audience's respect and remorse. The Inspector uses intelligent language techniques to convince the audience into believing into the socialist views Priestley shares. Before reading the play, I did not believe that your thoughts affected the people around you. Soon after finishing the play, my views changed as now I strongly believe our actions, whether thoughts or speeches, affect everyone around you without you even knowing. Priestley set the play in 1912 to convey how attitudes and times have changed. between the years 1912 and 1945, Britain went through an amount of social changes. Which included social class was now being seen as unimportant, women starting to get their rights, and seen as equals to men and the poor being given welfare so that they could survive on minimum pay. A 1946 audience would agree with the Inspector due to these social changes that happened between 1912 and 1945, unlike a modern audience. In a modern audience, it depends on who the kind of person is, sitting in the audience happens to be and what morals they hold. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ogheneserome Ogboru 10E ...read more.

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