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An inspector calls by J.B Priestly

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John Wain An inspector calls by J.B Priestly The background One of the greatest most inspiring plays of the period, created by an extraordinary writer from the lower suburbs of Bradford named John Boyton Priestly. During the mid-late 1930's J.B Priestly began to unfold as one of London's favourite play writes, producing highly successful scripts such as Laburnum Grove and Eden's End. His stories Dangerous Corner and Time and The Call Ways contained an analogous theme as that of An Inspector Calls in that they show how one person's small thoughtless actions along with many other seemingly insignificant occurrences can cause drastic, even fatal changes in someones life. I imagine this reflects upon his experiences on the front line in World War 1 and how some of the things he saw people do and say would have affected his life forever. He came round to writing arguably his most entertaining and renowned play of all, An Inspector Calls, the very same year the Second World War ended (1945). At this time he had reached the pinnacle of his writing career he was really on fire. However due to the bombings and air raids of the war, it was over a year before this incredible piece of theatre art got its first production in the new theatre on the 1st of October 1946.it was to be the first appearance of one of British theatres most prominent pieces Down to business An Inspector Calls is set in the spring of 1912 in the industrial town of Brumley in the north midlands, ...read more.


the predictions made by the Inspector chill the audience and make them see that the lesson he speaks of has been re-taught through fire and blood and anguish twice already. The audiences had experienced the horrors of war and were not eager to experience them again, so they may think that if they followed JB Priestley's message, they would prevent yet another world war. The play was set in 1912, and being set at this time, there was not only the opportunity for predictions, but also for a more drastic look at the relationship between the rich and the poor. The class gap of 1912 was much larger than that of 1946, and so was more noticeable to the audiences. With the upper class, we have mentalities like that of Sybil Birling, who would seem to think that all members of the lower classes are beneath her and her family. She say to Birling "Arthur, you're not supposed to say such things," when he compliments the cook (the cook being a member of the lower classes). This shows that she believes that the lower classes are there to serve, not to be thanked or complimented. This is a strange viewpoint for a "prominent member of the Brumley Women's Charity Organisation". With the lower classes however, we have Eva Smith, a young woman who is shown as the innocent victim of the thoughtless actions of the Birling's. This contrast is one of many in the play, set up to show one side to be better than the other. ...read more.


At the end of reading the play, I was left feeling as if I would like to think I had learned from the example of the Birling's and the message it contained. The ending is well crafted, leaving an open ending to add to the dramatic effect, but looking at it differently, there is not really another way to have ended the play after that plot twist other than an open ending where it was without ruining the play itself. I think the majority of people who have seen this play would have liked to think of themselves as an Eric or a Sheila. The aims of Priestly when he wrote this play, I believe, were to make us think, to make us question our own characters and beliefs. He wanted to show us that we can change, and we can decide which views we side with. He wanted us to ask ourselves if we wanted to be a Sheila or a Sybil, an Eric or an Arthur. Or, were we in-between like Gerald. Priestly wanted the audience to learn from the mistakes of the Birling's. I think that Priestly wanted to make a difference; not a world changing difference, but a small difference in the way people think. Then, if you think of every person who coming out of the play gave some money to a beggar in the street, you would see that Priestly did make a difference. It would have changed people's views on society, however small those changes would be, and so Priestly achieved his aims in writing the play not solely but mainly due to these ingenious contrasts and comparisons. ...read more.

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