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Explain how J. B. Priestly shows his idea of responsibility to the audience of An Inspector Calls.

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Explain how J. B. Priestly shows his idea of responsibility to the audience of An Inspector Calls J.B.Priestly wrote the play An Inspector Calls in 1945 and set it in 1912. It's about a young girl; Eva Smith who committed suicide and an inspector calls at the Birling household. As the inspector questions everyone it turns out that they are all partially responsible for Eva Smiths death. My essay is based on the theme of responsibility of the characters in An Inspector Calls. The play was wrote in 1945 over 30 years after it was set in 1912 lots of events of great significance had happened such as two world wars. Priestly was in the army in the First World War and narrowly escaped death. Mr Birling believes that there will not be a war, "All these silly little war scares there will be peace and prosperity." Birling also believes that the Titanic is unsinkable "unsinkable absolutely unsinkable!" Birling has strong capitalism views and is against socialism views. He believes there will be no war as the capitalist view is that it would cost too much. The socialist wanted war but Birling thought that the socialist views were crazy. In 1946 there had been two wars and Birling was wrong. Priestly is showing that capitalist views were wrong, the audience knows what the actors do not know as it was set 30 years ago. All of his views are based on him making money. ...read more.


Gerald is very suspicious and has strange behaviour. He lied to Sheila about being busy at work, he is like Birling and thinks women should be protected he also has a high opinion of himself. He gets irritated when he doesn't know what is going on he likes to know other people views and tell them his. "Now listen darling." He thinks he can control Sheila. Gerald follows Mr Birling like a younger version of him as he feels he is not responsible for Eva's death. Sheila has a modern personality; "You're squiffy." Sheila is a mummy girl "Yes go on mummy." She is also very na�ve and emotional she has a caring, sensitive personality unlike her family. "Oh-how horrible! Was it an accident?" P17 Sheila is not very clever as she asks stupid questions. "Inspector: ...You used the power you had as the daughter of a good customer." She uses her social status to get what she wants. She feels guilty and responsible for Eva's death. "I turned her out of a job I started it." The inspector knows that she is only partially responsible. As the story progress she feels less guilty. Sheila will probably change as she is less headstrong and not very reckless "I'll never do it again." Sheila is unlike her parents who are headstrong and who are business people. Her dad, who likes to look after her, bosses Sheila about. "Birling...That's enough Sheila." P50 Sheila later on in the story is angry that her parents don't accept responsibility. ...read more.


"We don't live alone. We are members of one body - We are responsible for each other." P56 The Inspector in the play brings the family together to discuss the death. He is in the story to show the family the consequences of their actions and to make the family think back to why they made the decisions they did. He tells the family that there are millions of others like Eva Smith who are intertwined in their lives, and they need to stop being selfish and think of others. In the film the Inspector is called Poole and he disappears at the end from a locked room. This gives him a more ghostly image of some supernatural creature and makes the film more mysterious and interesting. In the play at the beginning the Inspector is more realistic and lifelike to make the story more normal and realistic. Priestly uses the Inspector to put pressure on the family and interrogate them to find out their shameful secrets. Priestly cleverly gives the Inspector an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness. The Inspector always speaks precise, carefully and demanding as he interrogates the family and is always in control. He always seemed to know everything and this increases his supernatural quality. After the Inspector left Gerald phones the Infirmary and discovered that no suicide has taken place, this further serves to heighten the mystery surrounding the Inspector. At the last moment Priestly adds a twist to the story, a police Inspector is about to arrive to investigate a girl's suicide. This leaves the audience to predict what will happen. ...read more.

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