• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

An Inspector Calls' has been described as a play of social criticism. What is being criticised? The play is set in Edwardian England and aims to expose the social criticisms of the time. Just before World War 1, with the Titanic, an apparently unsinkable ship, ready to set sail, on her first voyage in a few weeks, which as we now know, did actually sink. This possibly showing the upper class' arrogance, that they were far superior to any other person. The play begins with the Birlings' celebrating the engagement of Sheila their daughter, to a wealthy young man, Gerald Croft. The Birlings' appear to be a reasonably joyful family but they are so involved in themselves that they fail to notice that anything that is going on around them until an inspector calls. Inspector Goole cleverly visits the family while they are celebrating the engagement in a cheerful mood. This could signify that the upper classes are too busy having a good time and not thinking about the rest of the world, that they have to be brought back to reality by something 'horrible' happening; in this case, the death of Eva Smith, a working-class girl. ...read more.

Middle

Birling says, "I don't suppose for a moment that we can understand why the girl committed suicide. Girls of that class-", displaying, appropriately, the attitudes of the people in higher classes towards those in lower class'. Mrs. Birling, is the head of an establishment that helps women who are in distress, but she only does it so that she is seen to be giving something back into society, this is purely because she is trying to look like she is a caring, upper class woman. When Eva was pregnant, she went to Mrs Birling's charity for financial aid. Eva, without knowing, used Mrs. Birlings' name, Mrs. Birling, appalled by the girls' cheek, decided not to help her. She was dismayed that 'a girl of that status' would imagine to use the name Birling. Mrs Birlings lack of regard for people shows that she can only be the head of the establishment because all she wants is power, not because she cares for people, and is consequently not worthy of this role within the establishment. Mrs Birling is a prime example of women during this period. Similar to her husband, she believes that she is superior, due to wealth and thinks this qualifies her to be respected, held in awe and make judgments on people's lives as she so wishes. ...read more.

Conclusion

Priestly is trying to show that this is what will continue to happen in society if we do not learn from our mistakes. Between the years when the play was set and the play was written; 1912-1945, the country experienced World Wars, unrest, Depression, the atomic bomb, fascism and the Holocaust. By 1945 it was possible to look back and see that a full circle had taken place, that an uncaring society had helped each other to survive the devastation of wars and worse. This emphasises on the point of how significant it is that we care for each other and do not just think of ourselves, but instead help others who are in more need than ourselves. The play is unquestionably a social assessment, criticising the class system, the attitudes of the rich towards the poor, the way society tries to shift blame to others and the insincerity of people. Society puts on a disguise, that Inspector Goole broke down, by exposing the Birlings' to make them realise and aware about the effect their actions had towards other people and making them aware that in reality and effect, everyone is equal, no matter of social standing or role in society. Simon Herbert 11RP ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE J.B. Priestley section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE J.B. Priestley essays

  1. Free essay

    "AN INSPECTOR CALLS" By J. B. Priestly has been described as a play of ...

    In addition, the point where the Inspector is introduced is deliberately placed as previous to his entrance, Birling is discussing his views on socialism, describing them as "cranks". Later, we are lead to believe the Inspector is in fact one of these "cranks".

  2. "An Inspector Calls" - issues raised in the play concerning the social structure ...

    It is also used as another attempt for Mr. Birling to improving his own his own social status and get one over on his peers who are seen as from higher classes than himself. These continuing attempts from Mr. Birling to be seen as having a high status emphasise the

  1. An Inspector Calls By J.B Priestly - The play has been described as a ...

    Eric used her as easy sex at the end of a drunken night out, and Mrs Birling as a plain inconvenience and an insult. J.B Priestly wanted the audience to be able to contrast the way the Birlings saw lower class Eva Smith, and the way they saw themselves within their own class.

  2. ''An Inspector Calls' has been described as a play of social criticism - What ...

    He says, 'If we were all responsible for everything that happened to everybody we'd had anything to do with, it would be very awkward.'codd ddr seddddw ordd ddk indd fodd dd.

  1. ‘An Inspector Calls’ has been described as a play of social criticism. ...

    Birling, who sacked Eva from her job at his factory because she lead a group of girls to ask for a pay rise. Mr. Birling told the Inspector, 'Eva Smith was one of them. She'd had a lot to say - far too much - so she had to go.'

  2. What Makes An Inspector Calls An Effective Piece Of Social Criticism As Well As ...

    Priestley shows that the Birling family are capitalists and have great wealth in a number of ways. For example their house is described as "The dining-room of a fairly large suburban house, belonging to a prosperous manufacturer. It has good solid furniture of the period.

  1. "An Inspector Calls" as a Tool for the Political and Social Criticism of the ...

    Every playwright knows that the one way to secure his or her audience's interests is by making characters which the audience can relate to. The play begins in "the dinning-room of a fairly large suburban house, belonging to a prosperous manufacturer."

  2. How do various attitudes reflect Social, Cultural and Historical values, both of the time ...

    Inspector that "You seem to be making a great impression on the child". The Inspector's response, that "we often make an impression on the young ones" is proved to be true. The younger characters - Sheila, Eric and to an extent Gerald, are able to see the Inspector's message realise that he is right.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work