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An Inspector Calls by J.B Priestley

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Introduction

Ashley Wilkinson 10JB An Inspector Calls by J.B Priestley John Boyton Priestley was born in a Yorkshire town called Bradford. He was born in 1894; sadly that was the same year his mother died. When Priestley turned four years of age, his father, who was a teacher, married again. This brought more stability to his life. John Boyton Priestley got his first job when he was sixteen years old as a junior clerk in a wool company. He used this job to gain experience and became a stepping-stone for his future success. Priestley's father had a network of friends who were socialites. These people inspired Priestly and he based his literary work on their attitudes to society. Their attitudes were that they wanted fair systems; they believed people should be treated equally. These plays are called morality plays. The morality play was a medieval style of drama, which tried to teach the audience a moral lesson. For example, through "An Inspector Calls" Priestly wanted to ask the audience, how responsible we are as individuals to society. Some play writers used allegory to get this moral question across. An allegory is when something other than a person would represent an idea. For example, in "Animal Farm" the writer used animals rather than actual people to get the idea of equal rights across. 'An Inspector Calls' is a naturalistic play. Naturalism is when the writer tries to mimics reality closely. He/She focuses on making the play as realistic as possible. By adding close detail to props and the storyline of the play itself. Priestly describes the furniture with great detail at the beginning; he specifies 'good solid furniture of the period' and that 'the men are in tails and white ties, not dinner jackets'. Priestly is showing great detail to the furniture and the outfits. Since the play was set 30 years before it was written Priestly, to make the play more realistic, referred to the fashion of that particular period. ...read more.

Middle

He is honest and feels shame for what he did. This is the Gerald that has not yet been influenced by the Birlings. Gerald is notorious for his honesty and politeness during the play, that's when he's being himself. "That may have been all nonsense." Gerald now is influenced by the Birlings and all his shame and guilt starts to go away as they debate whether the inspector is real. The quote implies that he is questioning the inspector and starts to believe the girl never died. During the last scene when the inspector leaves he joins the Birlings in their selfish acts to find out whether the inspector existed. "Birling: The girl had been causing trouble in the works. I was quite justified. Gerald: Yes I think you were. I know we'd have done the same thing." Gerald agrees with Birlings selfish and thoughtless actions to fire the girl. This doesn't please Sheila; she is the only person who actually cared. The fact that Gerald made Eva 'feel happy' allows us to feel some sympathy for him. "I became at once the most important person in her life" This quote is one of the few quotes that give the audience a good idea about what Eva Smith/Daisy Renton was like. He made her happy, and gave her something to live for, but Gerald left her leaving her devastated and if he didn't leave in that manner she still might have been alive. Gerald felt really sorry and this may have let the audience feel slight sympathy for him. Gerald is a polite young man from a good up bringing. "Oh - I say congratulations!" and "thank you". Once again, this is the real Gerald Croft, whom isn't influenced by the Birlings. He's polite and gains a lot of respect from Mrs Birling. The audience from very few of his lines can tell he comes from good breeding. ...read more.

Conclusion

By inspector Goole showing no fear in doing this it shows his dominance. He sets himself up as the boss in the whole situation right from the start and this is something Mr and Mrs Birling find hard to deal with. Priestley wants the audience to ask themselves how responsible are we for others in society? He uses five different characters with five very different reactions to the situation. Mr Birling feels he has nothing to do with the death and the girl is at fault. Mrs Birling doesn't want anything to do with it and she doesn't have the time. Sheila on the other hand reacts totally differently from Mr and Mrs Birling, she is very sorry for what she has done. She seems very interested in the whole situation. She shows a lot of emotion and promises she will learn from her mistakes. Gerald makes it quite clear that he is sorry for what he had done but shows little emotion. He does remain very honest throughout. Though when he finds out the inspector was a fake he starts to show less and less guilt and much more relief. Eric is certainly the most emotional of all the characters. He is very sorry and upset by the whole situation. We can tell by his reaction that he is the youngest in the family, as he becomes very moody and frustrated, at some point he almost breaks down. Its like the whole thing is too much for him to handle. Like Sheila he definitely learns his lessen and is willing to change. Now, the audience can look at each character and think, which one am I most like? Would I feel guilty? Would I be emotional and very sorry? Would I remain very honest? These are all questions Priestley wants the audience to ask themselves. Overall, the main question is, how responsible are we for others in society? In my opinion Priestley succeeded in getting this moral question across. He certainly encouraged me to ask myself these questions. ...read more.

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