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English Coursework - An Inspector Calls Essay.

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Peter Verrechia English Coursework - An Inspector Calls Essay An Inspector Calls is a play written by J.B.Priestley. It was written just after The Second World War and set in 1912 just before the start of The First World War. The play reflects Priestley's social and political beliefs and tries to portray socialist ideals to the audience. The themes of community and responsibility are central to the play. At the time the play is set, there was an enormous divide between the social classes in Britain. There were the middle and upper classes (around five to six million) who took two thirds of the national income. Then there was the working class (around thirty-nine million) who took the remaining one third of the national income. Poor labourers were often treated badly and were paid ludicrously low rates of pay. There were of course, no unions to push for higher wages or better working conditions, so there was nothing these workers could do to improve their situation. In the play, Priestly tries to convey that this was a bad system for the majority and that everyone should look after each other, regardless of class. ...read more.


The Inspector is called Mr Goole, which introduces a slightly mysterious, even ghostly side to his character. He is in fact like a time traveller. He moves through an audience in the 1990s to the stage of the 1940s where in the National Theatre Production we hear the air raid sirens. He is also wearing clothes from the 1940s. He then moves through to when the play is set, into the world of the Birlings in 1912. The inspector tells the Birlings that in some way, each of them are responsible for the death of Eva Smith; Mr Birling for not giving her a pay rise, Mrs Birling for not lending her money from the charity where she works. Eric and Gerald Croft were also responsible in a way, because they were both seeing her without the other knowing and then finished the affair and left her in the lurch. Sheila can also be handed some of the blame because she was responsible for Eva being sacked from a new job she had working in a clothes shop. There was an incident where Shelia was trying on a dress that looked much better on Eva and so, because Sheila felt very jealous, she reported Eva to the shop manager for laughing at her. ...read more.


Here, Priestly is trying to show the audience what happened regarding The First World War, which was meant to be the war to end all wars. There was, as we know, another World War which indicates people didn't learn anything from the first. I think this is one of the main reasons for the play being set in 1912. Towards the end of the play, The National Theatre Production reflects on the idea that no lessons have been learnt, by having an old lady on the stage, knitting. She is there as if to say "I've seen all this before". It's as if she is knitting the seeds of time, waiting for it to all happen again. The main messages in An Inspector Calls are that of community and social responsibility. Some people would say that these messages are still relevant in today's society. Priestley is suggesting that the richer people in society should share their wealth with the less fortunate. The National Theatre Production helps portray Priestley's socialist ideals in a positive way. The setting and representations are used to great effect. The idea that we are all members of one big global community and should look out for one another, is a message that most of the audience will probably take away with them. ...read more.

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