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An Inspector Calls is full of lies and deceit. Write fully about the way Priestley exposes weakness and wickedness, not just in the characters on the stage but also in Society.

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Introduction

An Inspector Calls is full of lies and deceit. Write fully about the way Priestley exposes weakness and wickedness, not just in the characters on the stage but also in Society "An Inspector Calls" is a play written by J.B. Priestley and published in 1947. The Author was born in Bradford in 1894, and during the Second World War was exceedingly popular as a broadcaster. The play was first produced at the New Theatre in October 1946. The play is set in 1912, and revolves around the questioning of a family by Inspector Goole about the suicide of a young woman that the family knew. The play presents Priestley's socialist views while at the same time outlining the problems he saw with capitalism. Inspector Goole is used to show the characters their responsibilities in the death of a lower class woman. At the end of the play we are left unsure whether Inspector Goole was a real person or whether he was some kind of supernatural being who is able to prophesize the death of the girl before it has happened. At the beginning of the play the Birlings and Gerald Croft are around the dinner table, celebrating a special occasion. The dining room is that of a fairly large suburban house and the furniture and d�cor show middleclass wealth. The atmosphere seems to be gay. However as the audience settle into the play it becomes increasingly clear that things are not all as it seems. The first little hint is when Mr Birling praises the dinner and the cook and Mrs Birling retorts reproachfully "Arthur you are not supposed to say such things . ...read more.

Middle

Mrs Birling was born into wealth and so is of old money which means she is socially superior to her husband. The effectively means she is constantly undermining him making him feel less confident and more vulnerable. She is very happy about the engagement of her daughter because it will raise the social status of her family. In her bubble of contentment, Mrs. Birling fails to notice some of the major dysfunctions in her family, such as Eric's drinking problem. As the plot moves on she tries to deny more things she does not want to believe, including the affair Gerald has with Daisy and the thought that Eva would turn down money if she thought Eric had stolen, clearly showing that she lacks understanding of the working-class. As well as patronising them, Mrs Birling tries to protect her children from the realities of the world, for example when Gerald is being questioned about his visit to the "haunt of women of the town" - meaning prostitutes - she declares that "it would be much better if Sheila didn't listen to this story at all". In fact it is Mrs Birling who turns the knife at the end, shifting the blame onto her own son albeit unintentionally. Sheila is "a pretty girl in her early twenties, very pleased with life and rather excited" with her engagement to Gerald. However her suspicious attitude towards Gerald's absence in the summer, during which time she suspects he might have been having an affair shows she is not na�ve. She uses imagery, asking her mother not to "build up a wall between us and that girl". ...read more.

Conclusion

We are responsible for each other". His parting words, that "if men will not learn that lesson [that they are responsible for each other], then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish" have a slightly prophetic tone to them, further showing evidence of his magical and mysterious qualities. In this passage, Goole resembles a messenger from God clearly referring to the start of World War I two years after the play's setting and then World War II. A major question that is constantly asked is "Who is Inspector Goole?" since it is established that he is not a member of the Police, and has foreknowledge of the girls death. Although she has not died yet, it is revealed in a twist at the end of the play that she dies after the inspector left. However the identity of the Inspector is really irrelevant, since the Inspector is simply a mouthpiece for Priestley, who is trying to get the audience to look at society and responsibility. The Inspector makes the very socialist point that "One Eva Smith has gone - but there are millions and millions and millions of Eva Smiths . . . still left with us" The fact that the dead girl has many names creates the effect that it is not just one person who is affected by the irresponsible upper class but many different people, possibly the whole of the working class and is underlined by the use of the surname "smith" which is very common in Britain. All the characters have done something weak or wicked which some accept and others fail to. But the play is overall showing Priestley's views on society and airing his vast dislike of the snobbery in the upper and middle classes. ...read more.

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