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'An Inspector calls' is set in 1912 and was written for a 1946 audience. What can it have to offer an audience in 2002? 'An Inspector calls'.

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Introduction

. 'An Inspector calls' was written by J.B. Priestly in 1945, and was first shown to an audience in 1946. It was set in 1912, before the Second World War had started, and was to be shown, after the Second World War had ended. 'An inspector calls' is a dramatic, moralistic thriller. It is set around the death of a young woman: Eva Smith. The play begins with the Birling family celebrating the engagement of their daughter Sheila, to the wealthy Gerald Croft. In this part of the play you learn a lot about the social system of that era, the way people acted, and the way they thought. The doorbell, and the arrival of an Inspector interrupt their 'celebration'. From now on the mood changes, contrasting the light-hearted and happy mood; it now becomes tense and serious. The Inspector reveals each characters involvement in the death of Eva Smith, side by side with the flaws and evils in each characters' personality. This slowly reveals to the audience that the Inspector is a lot more then he seems, and that the play is not only a 'murder mystery', but also resembles a moralistic play of the middle ages, but in it's own socialistic manner. It also shows the flaws in the social system at the times, which are displayed in each character, and in the consequences of their acts. The audience are shown how some people ignore the reality of their actions, and even after seeing the consequence of their actions, refuse to change. Mr and Mrs Birling are portrayed as selfish and ignorant of their actions, while Sheila and Eric, as a contrast, have fully realised their mistakes and have changed the way they think. The inspector is successful in changing two of the characters, but is not successful in the rest. Priestly is in a way playing the Inspector, to his audience, showing them the consequences of their actions, and what will happen if they do not change. ...read more.

Middle

Many modern day soaps and dramas have incorporated this issue into their storyline, and the lesson has not yet been learnt. Another very important issue that it raises is that of the dysfunctional family. The Birling's are a perfect example of a dysfunctional family; they barely know anything about each other, what they do in their spare time, their opinions on certain issues etc. Sheila and Eric have been hiding the fact that Eric is an alcoholic, and the news comes as a shock to their parents. This shows us what a dysfunctional family can lead to, and how it is important to communicate with those in your family. This lesson has also not yet been learnt, so goes to say: 'An Inspector calls' is not yet out of date. On a more general note, all of the sins that the characters commit, always have done, and still do exist today. Anger lust, adultery, and jealousy, are a few of the 'deadly sins' that the Birlings committed, one way or another. These sins still exist greatly in our society, and probably will do for a long time yet. This also goes to show that 'An Inspector calls' is not out of date, and probably won't be for a long time. The moral though, that the Inspector seeks to teach his audience, is quite out of date. He seeks to teach his audience that no man should 'look after himself and his own', as Birling had proudly stated, as this will never work out for the good, in the long run. At the time when this play was written, the socialist ideal was still trying to climb the steep ladder of success. Although the ideas that were the backbone of the Inspector's speech, went back long way to the time of St Paul, for instance; the socialist ideal was still seen as nonsense. This was probably due to the fact the England was a capitalist country at the time, and the people who had any say about anything, were people like Birling, people who were living a life of luxury out of it. ...read more.

Conclusion

Both Sheila and Gerald are disconcerted, as the sentences at the end of act two are very short: "You don't" and "You'll see". The questions that are in the audiences mind at the end of act two, are not concerning who is the next culprit, but are more general. The audience are now beginning to realise that maybe everyone is involved with Eva Smith, and that Inspector is a lot more then he seems. The language used to create this effect cannot be seen as 'dated', as it still used today. There are only a few words in 'An Inspector calls', that could bee seen as dated, but these can be quite important. Words such as "drawing room" or "decanter" are not used commonly any more, and most people won't fully understand them. This could limit their understanding and enjoyment of the play, so supports my final statement. Overall I disagree with the statement: 'the language is out of date, and no longer effective'. The language used in 'An Inspector calls' is mostly not out of date, and can be fully understood and appreciated by an audience of 2002. It can still create dramatic effect to its full extent, and is not affected by the odd cases of 'dated' language. In my opinion the, an Inspector calls is not out of date, as its language, morals and characters are still relevant today. It can offer an audience of 2002, not only a dramatic and well-made thriller, but also morals and lessons that still need to be learnt. 'An Inspector calls' will be entertaining whenever it is shown, as dramatic devices, and human response cannot become 'dated' and ineffective, even thought a storyline can. However, the storyline in 'An Inspector calls' is still common today, as some of the issues it raises, are still widespread today. 'An Inspector calls' was set in 1912, and was written or an audience of 1946; to an audience pf 2002, it offers a chance to learn some history, entertainment, and lessons to be learnt. NAGINA AKHTAR ...read more.

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