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'An Inspector Calls' is based in 1912, before the first and second world war, before the sinking of the Titanic and before women had any rights.

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Introduction

An Inspector Calls 'An Inspector Calls' is based in 1912, before the first and second world war, before the sinking of the Titanic and before women had any rights. 'An Inspector Calls' was written in 1945, Britain was enduring the final year of The Second World War and the country was united in one community, together they were fighting for Britain. JB Priestley liked what he saw; people were putting aside their class and background and ignored their prejudices in an attempt to help their country. The only problem was Priestley knew after the war, that Britain may return to its previous state. Therefore Priestley wrote a play, based in Edwardian Britain when class mattered and reputation was everything. Priestley set the play in Brumley, an industrial town where, like most places in Britain, the rich and poor rarely met. The only places the two classes became more integrated were the bars where prostitutes and rich men would meet. But these places were another world, a form of escapism for family men yearning for more excitement, they had double standards and these double standards appear throughout the play. The story is about the Birling family and their involvement with a young woman who tragically committed suicide, each member of the family had their own input to her downward spiral, and it started with Mr Birling. 'A man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own.....' and it is with that there is knock at the door. Inspector Goole enters the Birling household (and in my opinion acting as Priestley's alter-ego), causing unrest amongst some of them and no affect on others. ...read more.

Middle

Mr and Mrs Birling are comfortable in their life and they are now content with the fact that their only daughter, Sheila, is engaged to the son of a wealthy factory owner. Gerald Croft the 'well bred young man-about-town' is witty, charming, pleasant and everything that any parents could ask for from a son-in-law he is also liked by Eric although Gerald is a few years his senior. Gerald's involvement with Eva Smith is when the class distinction of the time becomes apparent. Although to start off with it looked as though Gerald was doing the decent thing by helping a girl in trouble, the inevitable happened when Eva became his mistress. The question that should be asked is if Eva wasn't so pretty and 'young and fresh and charming' would Gerald even have considered helping her from the grasps of Joe Meggarty? My guess is no, for right from the beginning of his story he makes his first impressions of the girl known 'But then I noticed a girl who looked quite different. She was very pretty- soft brown hair and big dark eyes.' He doesn't start by saying he saw a girl being cornered by Joe Meggarty and being pestered he starts by describing the girl, and that was probably what he saw first, this pretty face. Gerald could be described as a younger Mr Birling, for when Mr Birling was telling of his involvement with Eva Smith Gerald continues to agree with him and then says 'Yes I think you were (justified). ...read more.

Conclusion

to have the same qualities as her brother by making sly, sarcastic comments such as 'I suppose we're all nice people now.' She try's to make her parents understand that whether or not the inspector was real they all did unforgivable things 'And don't let's start dodging and pretending now. Between us we drove that girl to commit suicide.' Even when it is revealed there was no suicide Sheila still does not forgive herself 'If it didn't end tragically, then that's lucky for us. But it might have done.' To me Sheila is the most complex and decent character of the play. It is she who makes all the final comments that sum up the whole evening and it is she who accepts the guilt. Through Sheila and Eric I think JB Priestley was saying it is up to the new generation to change their ways otherwise society will not progress. He makes the youngest characters the ones who accept what they did and it is probably them who will go on to think about what they did and change their lives for the good. 'An Inspector Calls' was Priestley's way of fighting for what he desired most, altruism, the principle of living and acting for the interest of others. This is what people were doing during the Second World War, people didn't care if they were working with people they normally wouldn't even talk to, they just wanted to help. The whole play still appeals to today's society, have we learnt from the First and Second World War? Quite obviously we haven't and maybe when writing the play JB Priestley was hoping we would. ...read more.

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