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An Inspector Calls' has been described as a play of social criticism. What is being criticised?

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Introduction

Hannah Russell An Inspector Calls `An Inspector Calls' has been described as a play of social criticism. What is being criticised? `An Inspector Calls' is a very thought provoking and rousing play. It was obviously written to make a strong point and illustrate the social gap between classes. This play was written in 1945 and since then, times and situations have changed enormously. However, this play still has great relevance today due to the fact that as a country we retain strong upper class societies who are very definitely detached. In the following essay, I aim to outline the many arguments and lines of thought that this play incites. To illustrate this I will use extracts from the play. I will also use my own thoughts and opinions: Before the Inspector enters, we are already forming opinions and views on the characters. Mr Birling seems very worried about wealth and social ranking. He says to Gerald who is his daughter's fianc�, `You ought to like this port Gerald....Finchley told me it's exactly the same port as your father gets from him.' Gerald's parents have a much higher social status than Mr Birling, and he is obviously trying to impress Gerald so he will pass it on to his parents. ...read more.

Middle

As a detective, he seems very morally aware and he tends to veer away from the main questioning and interrogation in order to scold and lecture each character. It is almost like a lesson, as well as an interrogation. As the Inspector is leaving, he delivers a touching, moving and inspirational speech. He says, `But just remember this. One Eva Smith has gone - but there are millions and millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with us, with their lives, their hopes and fears, their suffering and chance of happiness, all intertwined with out lives, and what we think and say and do. We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will soon come when, if man will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish. Good night' His speech is very dramatic and puts into words the theme of the play. He has just stated what everyone has been thinking and his words should affect each character individually. ...read more.

Conclusion

They have both contributed to the death of Eva Smith but with a combination of their guilt and the Inspector's words, have repented hugely and set about to change their ways and their parents'. However, Mr and Mrs Birling want to do nothing of the sort. They are both set in their ways and neither one of them wishes to feel guilt in anyway or show any sorrow or repentance. I think that this shows that older people find it harder to adjust and some people are just set in their ways and have no inclination to change. The play also illustrates and criticises the gap in social stature and behaviour. If people are believed to be `upper class' then they treat anyone below them with disdain and no interest. This play is illustrating that the Inspector treats both classes with the same attitude. He treats the Birlings with the same respect or resistance he would to any other suspect or interviewee. He does not give them preferential treatment and I think that this is showing how everyone should treat each other. The play is criticising the fact that as individuals we do not consider the consequences of our actions, and that as a society we do not realise what one action can lead to. ...read more.

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