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"An inspector calls" has been described as "a play with a message." What is the message of the play? How effectively does J.B Priestly convey his message?

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Introduction

"An inspector calls" has been described as "a play with a message." What is the message of the play? How effectively does J.B Priestly convey his message? In this essay I will be answering the above question of what the message is in the play Inspector Calls and will discuss how the author J.B. Priestly conveys this. Inspector Calls is a play about the suicide of a girl whose family then become under interrogation and are exposed as having deep dark secrets and, individually played a part in the death of Eva Smith. It also about the family issues and that at the beginning of the play the family are very smug and self satisfied, but by the end and because of the death of Eva all the barriers are destroyed and they have to reassess their values. The message of the play is that you should take responsibility for your own actions, and "we are all responsible for each other and must think before we act." The Inspector helps us see this by individually checking Eva's family members and getting them to admit that they each played a part in her death. The character Birling is shown to be very selfish and greedy. ...read more.

Middle

The Inspector tells Sheila that "a customer complained about her - and she had to go," it is then that we learn that the customer was in fact Sheila. Sheila was a very important costumer to the department store, (Milwards) and used this to her advantage to get Eva fired, she had complained that Eva had laughed at her, when she tried on a dress, but perhaps the real reason was that Sheila was jealous that Eva looked so much better than her in the dress and it was because of this, that she, "Couldn't feel sorry for her". Priestly has Sheila showing a lot of different emotions at this point, she cries at first, then becomes miserable, then distressed and then stormily. Priestley is saying that Sheila behaves very differently in a short space of time, and that with her tempers she shows she is self centred "when I was looking at myself in the mirror I caught sight of her smiling at the assistant, and I was furious with her. I'd been in a bad temper anyhow." The audience is less critical of Sheila than Birling as she shows more regret and guilt over the fact she could have played a part in Eva's death. ...read more.

Conclusion

"And I tell you that the time will soon come when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish." He wants the family to realise that if they think more in future then they can have a better impact of other people's lives and help to prevent this sort of thing happening again, it's all about responsibility. Priestly continues to leave the message responsibility with the audience even after the Inspector leaves. The family are left discussing the night's events and are still continuing to blame one another, except for Sheila who asks, "Have you not learnt anything tonight." Sheila is the only one who really shows remorse for what happened and believes that she was partly responsible for Eva's suicide. The message of the play "we are all responsible for each other" is clear throughout. Priestley's writing of the involvement of each of the characters was cleverly done. Each character shared the same amount of responsibility in the involvement of Eva's death and Priestly makes us aware of how bad treatment towards someone can lead to something more. In all of Eva's relationships she is the one without power, the only control she gains is by killing herself and the unborn child she was carrying. ...read more.

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