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Examine Priestley's presentation of the Inspector in 'An Inspector calls'

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Examine Priestley's presentation of the Inspector in 'An Inspector calls' J.B. Priestley was born in Yorkshire on 13th September 1894. He gained his writing experience in the years before the war 1911-1914; he did not work among professional writers; he was around "people who read a great deal, cared a lot for at least one of the arts, and preferred a real talk and hot arguments to social chit-chat." Despite having grown up into his father's circle of socialist friends, he found himself joining in in their political discussions/arguments. It was around this time that Priestley started to write in his front attic bedroom. At the age of twenty, and at the outbreak of war, in 1914, he joined the infantry. He left in 1919, having seen active front-line service in France and having narrowly escaped being killed when a German shell exploded three yards away from him and having been a victim of a gas-attack. In "An Inspector Calls", Priestley uses a lot of his political views in the Inspectors speeches by using him as a kind of a mouthpiece for his socialism. The play was written in 1946; however it was set in 1912, just before the outbreak of WWI. This was a new era when people were no longer willing to accept the poverty or the class system that had gone before. ...read more.


The Birling children, Shelia and Eric have very different views to their father throughout the whole play; however they change dramatically as the whole story unveils. Sheila at first is seen to be shallow mainly because of her social standing. She is expected the play the role of a subservient wife who always puts her husband's wishes first. The way she behaves at the dinner table suggests that she is only interested in surface interests. She only talks about visiting clothes shops and yet does not join in when her father starts to discuss politics. Eric doesn't seem to agree with his father's opinions and seems more interested in drinking than in joining the political debates. In terms of staging, Priestley uses stage direction to reflect the changing mood in the play from one of celebration and optimism to a darker one. There is "pink and intimate" use of lights for the party, which changes to "brighter and harder" when the inspection begins. The play is set in two rooms, both set out in good solid furniture of the period. On the Inspector's arrival, Birling is quite welcoming towards him, "Sit down...Have a glass of port- or a little whisky?" but as the Inspector refuses both, Birling gets irritated and tries to intimidate the Inspector by saying that he "was an alderman for years - and Lord Mayor two years ago...and is still on the ...read more.


When Eric re-enters, knowing everyone inside now thanks to the neighbour knows his secret he realises that he is wrong and him and Sheila try to make their parents see how they were also wrong. Gerald Croft did not sack, impregnate, or refuse help to Eva; he helped her by giving her money and a temporary residence. Out of all the suspects, he truly did like or love her and the only person most affected by his actions is Sheila, who Gerald ignored whilst having his affair with Eva. The Inspector is a very moral figure in the play. He represents the completely opposite view of Mr Birling that people should only look after themselves. Through his probing and questioning the Inspector allows the characters to reveal themselves, he controls the movement of the play and as Sheila says "somehow he makes you" reveal what you are thinking. He uses his physically presence, which is described as "an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness" to break down the resistance of the characters. In a sense, the Inspector is a symbolic figure and mouthpiece for Priestley's socialism. The author wanted to show that in society we must be responsible for one another and recognise that our actions can have an impact on others. However, although the Inspector can help us to see our responsibilities, we must want to change our behaviour, so hw points out that we all have a personal responsibility. ?? ?? ?? ?? English coursework Katie Dadzie ...read more.

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