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An Inspector Calls - review

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GSCE English Literature Coursework / An Inspector Calls Rough copy. The play 'Inspector Calls' is about a young woman named Eva Smith who had committed suicide, the Birling family were celebrating an engagement when an inspector named Goole had come to question each of the Birlings one by one about the death of Eva Smith. The characters involved in the play are, Mr Birling, Mrs Birling, their daughter Sheila, son Eric and Gerald Croft - Sheila's fianc�. Each member of this family played a part in the build up to the suicide. The inspector's role was to give a spooky effect while questioning each Birling about the suicide of Eva Smith. The play is set in 1912 but was written in 1945 after the Second World War and was performed years later. Priestley uses the sinking of the Titanic and the World Wars in his play to make Mr Birling sound ridiculous and wrong as we know. Before the Inspector comes into the play Mr Birling makes a speech and talks about the Titanic and The World War - 'the Germans don't want war, nobody wants war except some half-civilized folks in the Balkans. And why? There's too much at stake these days, Everything to lose and nothing to gain by war.' he says the talks about the Titanic being unsinkable - 'New York in five days - and every luxury - and unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable' and us audience know that Mr Birling is all wrong. ...read more.


When questioning the Birling family he is quite rude to them and is very calm at the same time. He questions them one by one, showing each of them a photo of Eva Smith away from the others- but why? the audience is left wondering. In page 12 when Mr Birling is shown the photo of Eva Smith, showing annoyance Gerald says 'Any reason why I shouldn't see this girls photograph, Inspector?' He has a very discomforting habit of looking hard at the people he addresses before actually speaking. The Inspector likes to know every person as the story unfolds, and the Birling's tell all. We do not know whether it's the same photo all along, so this keeps us wondering throughout the play, also he seems to know a lot of the story already which confuses the characters and audience as to why he already knows so much. Mrs Birling wonders all along if he really is a real police inspector or not, because he didn't seem real, he did not make notes or speak in a polite manner, and was pushy and rude when talking to her, this quote backs up my point. BIRLING - 'If you ask me, he behaved in a very peculiar and suspicious manner.' MRS BIRLING - 'The rude way he spoke to Mr Birling and me was quite extraordinary.' ...read more.


By this he means that if men will not learn they will be taught at war about how classes have to stick together through whatever. Priestley also makes it dramatic by the family realising that there is no dead girl at the infirmary and that there is no such police officer named Goole! The smug attitudes of the family, particularly Mr. and Mrs. Birling and Gerald at the end when they believe it to be a hoax followed swiftly by the second telephone call saying that a police inspector is coming round also shocks the audience and we are left to decide for ourselves what happens next. Suspense is created at the end of scenes when we know that characters are going to be exposed - Priestley often uses dramatic irony to do this e.g. we know that Eric is the father of the child just as Mrs. Birling is ranting about how the father must be held totally responsible for his actions. I think at the end the audience are left wondering and are left to decide what happens next for themselves. The Inspector did not worry about the legal side of things but only wants to teach the Birling family a lesson about the consequences of their actions. I like the play, its good, I think in this play, Priestley been a socialist is trying to teach us the morals of class, and living in a friendly community where we are all the same, and we should get on well together and stick together. Rachael Smith Inspector calls draft copy ...read more.

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