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Analyse the role of the Inspector in 'An Inspector Calls' By J.B Priestley

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Analyse the role of the Inspector in 'An Inspector Calls' By J.B Priestley Priestley's play An Inspector Calls was written in 1945 after the Second World War. Priestley joined the infantry in the Second World War and his experiences may have influenced his writing, by expressing his thoughts through the characters. As a young man he gained practical work experience and he found himself surrounded by 'people who read a great deal, cared a lot for at least one of the arts, and preferred real talk...hot argument to social chit chat.' He grew up in his fathers' circle of socialist friends, and he joined in with their political arguments. These discussions also influenced and framed the values which were later to predominate in An Inspector calls. The play is set in 1912 just before the First World War. During this period there were things happening in society that caused political unrest. The exploitation of workers lead to strikes and the threat of war made people uneasy. These events are significant to when the play was set, as this was the time when capitalists took advantage of others. Priestley uses the Birlings to represent the capitalists that exploit their workers. ...read more.


These quotes have a great impact on the post-war audiences of 1945. When showing the picture of Eva Smith/Daisy Renton to each of the characters Inspector Goole made sure that only one person looked at the picture at a time. He did this by placing himself between the character involved and the other characters. By using this juxtaposition the inspector builds metaphorical walls between the characters. With these walls surrounding them, the inspector breaks the characters down by making them confess. In some cases it was recognised, as Sheila says to her mother: "We all started like that - so confident, so pleased with ourselves until he began asking us questions." Sheila has recognised that the inspector is breaking them down and therefore warns the others to be careful about what they say. Sheila says: "You mustn't try to build up a kind of wall between us and that girl. If you do then the inspector will just break it down. And it'll be all the worse when he does." Throughout the scenes the inspector is in control as the stage directions show: '(massively taking charge) and (cutting in with authority).' 'He speaks carefully, weightily and looks hard at the person he addresses, which makes the audience feel that he knows more than he is letting on.' ...read more.


This shows that the audience of post 1945 are to learn a lesson about looking after everyone, even those of lower classes. The inspector carries on, saying: "...will be taught ...in fire and blood and anguish." Priestley refers to World War One with this part of the quote. (It is this unreal quality of the inspector's final prophecy that imbues the inspector with an almost supernatural quality.) It didn't matter what class you were in during the war anyone could have been bombed or killed. This prophecy is a dramatic device used to leave the audience in thought. "Priestley successfully moves both his play and his audience beyond the bounds of naturalism." From this play Priestly has made me understand that we must look after one another and treat each other equally and moderately, no matter who we are or what our status is. We must all consider what we think and say and do to people because we are all human beings living a life together in one world. Some people's lives are affected by others and if we do not consider one another's feelings then there will be a lesson for everyone to learn. ?? ?? ?? ?? Rashida Khanom Post 1914 Drama: Coursework - 1 - ...read more.

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