Compare and contrast two characters from the play "An Inspector Calls". Explain how Priestly uses them to show the different ideas and values of the older and younger generations.
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An Inspector Calls essay Compare and contrast two characters from the play "An Inspector Calls". Explain how Priestly uses them to show the different ideas and values of the older and younger generations. In the play 'An Inspector Calls' a young girl called Eva Smith commits suicide by drinking disinfectant and we see the reaction of the Birling family when they find out they all had a part in her death. The older and younger generations react differently to Eva Smiths death. Priestly wrote the play 'An Inspector Calls' in winter 1944-1945. The play was set in spring 1912 and it was first performed in 1946, in London. 'An Inspector Calls' was a well made play because their was a progression of ignorance to knowledge both characters and audience. I am comparing Sybil Birling and Shelia Birling, Sybil Birling is part of the older generation and Shelia is part of the younger generation. Shelia is warm hearted and affectionate. Shelia will take blame for what she has done. Sybil is "cold" and snobbish. She is also prejudiced and doesn't like change. She will not take blame for Eva Smiths death. In the first scene the characters are sat round a table celebrating Shelia and Gerald's engagement.
"(To Birling) I think it was a mean thing to do. Perhaps that spoilt everything for her", here when she found out about Eva she is very quick to protect Eva Smith but not any of the members of her family. Shelia is the only member who shows any genuine sympathy for Eva. But Mrs Birling tries not to believe it because she doesn't want to spoil their family reputation. And she believes her family would not be involved in something like this, she is also shocked to find out that she is involved but feels it wasn't their fault. She doesn't want to hear about Eric and wont believe the truth. "(Distressed) Eric. I can't believe it there must be some mistake" I think Priestly uses Shelia to keep reminding the reader of Eva's horrible death; also she is the one of the very few open characters, she is able to do this well as she expresses her feelings. Like when she said "I felt rotten at the time but now I feel even worse". Unlike her mother, when Shelia hears of her involvement in Eva's death she is ready to admit to her wrongs and express her guilt freely "im actually responsible?"
Throughout the play, she is there to remind the readers of how her family treated and spoilt the life of a young girl, simply because she was of a lower class. Sheila is used as a voice throughout the play, which is obviously what Priestly intended. He clearly must have felt that it was important to convey the message of how poorly the lower class were treated by the upper class. Through Shelia we have learnt to believe in equality, this makes the play hopeful because she then believes every one should be treated the same no matter what social class they come from. Through Sybil we learn that you should be honest, because in the end Sybil would not take blame and this didn't get her anywhere as the Inspector blamed her most for the reason that she didn't repent. I thought the play 'An Inspector Calls' was written well as Priestly maintained the interest of the audience throughout by progressive revelation, climaxes at the end of each act and spending time to reveal who is actually responsible. I think Priestly ended the play with a good ending; he ended it with something for the audience to think about. It will make them look back to look for clues that the inspector is not at all real. Kay Marriner 11U 1 English coursework 'An Inspector calls'
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