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Describe the way Priestley uses the inspector to convey the social message as well as be a means of deriving information from the characters. 'An Inspector Calls'.

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Introduction

Samira Amar Describe the way Priestley uses the inspector to convey the social message as well as be a means of deriving information from the characters. 'An Inspector Calls' was written just after the Second World War. This was a time when society had just come to realise that it was imperative that changes had to be made to create a more equal and just society during the peacetime. As a socialist, Priestley felt that this was just the time to voice his social message. This essay will discuss the ways in which Priestley uses the inspector's character both as a spokesman to voice his social message and also as a catalyst, deducing information from each character as the plot unfolds. The play is set in 1912, in the fictitious town of Brumley. The Birlings are gathered in their 'heavily comfortable but not cosy and homelike' (Stage directions, Act One, Page 1) dining room, where they are celebrating Sheila and Gerald's engagement. ...read more.

Middle

(Act One, Page 22) The inspector carries out the investigation by asking each character a range of questions, each aimed at coaxing them into realising and revealing how their actions played a part in the suicide of Eva Smith. Furthermore, he encourages them to link up the chain of events leading up to it. The inspector also provides the specific dates and informs them of any relevant circumstantial and background details. In this way, he makes the characters feel almost obliged to tell him the whole truth without withholding any information as they are led to believe that he is aware of all the facts anyway. The inspector demonstrates that he is perfectly capable of spotting any falsehood when he bluntly accuses Mrs Birling of being a liar. Understandably, the Birlings never dispute or challenge the version of events supplied by the inspector. Although maybe less noticeable to the audience, the mysterious quality and air of menace about the inspector also plays a large role in persuading the characters to confess their behaviour as Sheila points out 'Somehow he makes you.' ...read more.

Conclusion

He makes prophecies and warns the audience of 'fire, blood and anguish' (Act Three, Page 57), a claim that would have had a great impact on post war audiences. Even by the end of the play, the elder members of the family, Arthur and Sybil, seem to be completely blind to their own faults, the younger members, Sheila and Eric do however seem to realise the errors of their ways that the inspector tries to make them all aware of. In this, the audience is made to realise that it is perhaps it is only the younger generation that holds the key to transforming their society. However, the inspector is definitely successful in conveying this social message to the audience, who he educates in their social awareness through the revelations of each characters involvement in Eva Smith's suicide. As discussed, these messages of morale would have been well welcomed to audiences of the time, for who after just experiencing the Second World War, it was an absolute necessity to discover what changes needed to be made to create a more upright and honourable society during the peacetime. ...read more.

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