• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explore the ways in which Priestly conveys a socialist message in 'An Inspector Calls'

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Explore the ways in which Priestley conveys a socialist message in 'An Inspector Calls' An Inspector Calls is set in 1912, just before the beginning of World War One, however it was written in 1944-5, and was first performed in 1945 as the Second World War ended. Priestley survived the First World War, but bitterly disliked it. So when the Second World War came around, he began to question the point of the first war. So many men died, yet seemingly for nothing because this scene was re-enacted; just a replay if you like of the first. He began to question the point of leadership, and the belief in the power of leadership; they did nothing to prevent the first war, but even worse, they allowed the second to go ahead. He did not think there was a point in fighting another war simply to be recognized as the victor, or to gain land; the war could only be viable if it led to some good happening as a result. He believed that it should have resulted in society being improved, which is one of the main socialist ideals. So he chose the setting of this play to be before the Second World War, to show how foolish the capitalist British upper classes were, and showed how similar the experiences of the two wars were. ...read more.

Middle

Mr. Birling's comment at the start that everyone should only be looking out for themselves is at direct contrast with the Inspector's very subtle socialist comment at the end of the play. By that point the Inspector has completely swayed most of the audience into his point of view, so we can criticize Mr. Birling for his blatant capitalism. Mr. Birling's attempt to deny the Inspector's existence, and therefore morals, at the end of the play, makes him a figure of fun as well as closing the case that socialism is better than capitalism. Mrs. Birling would rather accuse someone else of crimes than accept responsibility herself. She cares for her family, her place in society and her aristocracy. She is by no means a socialist, though although she runs a refuge for young women of lower classes, she only does that selfishly to elevate her own social status. She does not care what happens to the young women she turns down; as long as she gains respect that is fine by her. So when she tries to foist the blame for Eva Smith's death onto someone else, she expects it to be foisted onto someone she has had no dealings with. ...read more.

Conclusion

He was having an affair with Eva Smith, yet did not know that her real name was Daisy Renton. However Sheila did not know about this. And when told about her death he only remembers how pretty she was. But even though the Inspector highlights his faults, he still has not changed by the end of the play. He has not gained a sense of social responsibility; he is still a capitalist and not a socialist, which may be why Sheila is unsure whether to take back the engagement ring. Eric is the one on whom all the blame is placed by the end of the play; his mother, so desperate to take the blame off herself, blames her son unwillingly. Eric fully accepts he is to blame for her death, and feels immense guilt. For although he tried to support her, when he could not, she accepted this. We feel sympathetic towards Eva, but also to Eric, for trying to save her to the very extent of his limit. And when finally he turns towards the socialist method, and tries to get their parents to agree as well, we feel very proud of him. Eva Smith is a lower class girl, who had socialistic ideals, but when she clashes with the capitalist characters, she dies for trying to be socialistic. She is the scapegoat of the story. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE J.B. Priestley section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE J.B. Priestley essays

  1. How does J.B Priestly explore the issues of social responsibility on 'An Inspector Calls'?

    I believe that Priestly made the character of Mr.Birling hold the most social and moral responsibilities. His unwillingness to accept these shows his insolence. Priestly uses dramatic qualities to help the audience relate to and understand social responsibility. One way that he chooses to use dramatic qualities is by making

  2. An Inspector Calls - Social message.

    The language also reveals character, and there are times when what the character says is in conflict with what the character does. Many of the characters reflect the hypocrisy which Priestley was condemning. The play has elements of the Medieval morality play since it shows characters who are guilty of

  1. The message of an inspector calls

    Priestley is suggesting that older people are less likely to change their views as they are more set in their ways than younger generations. 'SHEILA: You're squiffy...MRS. BIRLING: What an expression Sheila! Really the things you girls pick up these days.' This shows how set in her ways she is.

  2. How Priestly conveys his socialist beliefs in An Inspector Calls

    And I say there isn't a chance of war." and the closing of the Inspector's final speech, in it he warns of the dangers of capitalists not learning that everybody is responsible for everybody else and that the world is a whole that should not be divided into classes and

  1. How does Priestly present the contrast between Edwardian capitalist values and emergent socialist ideals ...

    Birling has strong views about the historical events of his time period. Birling states that, 'the world is developing so fast that war is impossible', this makes Birling look like a bit of an idiot to the audience as the play is performed in 1946, after the two World Wars.

  2. Inspector Calls English Coursework - 'We are all members of the one body'. Show ...

    Birling was seen as being responsible because he started the whole thing off by originally firing Eva from his factory. He fired her because he wanted to make as much possible profits for his company, this includes keeping wages for the workers down.

  1. How does Priestly use the characters in the play to give a political and ...

    The characters lie to each other, to the Inspector, and to them selves. These lies are not confined to simple misrepresentation of the truth, as when Mrs Birling denies having known about the truth Joe Meggarty. "Well, really! Alderman Meggarty!

  2. Examine The Way Priestly Gets His Socialist Message Across In The Play An Inspector ...

    It turns out that a girl has died, all the Birlings and Gerald are in some part responsible for her downfall. The Inspector tries to get them to accept responsibility, and through that educate them in socialist ideas. All seems well, but when the Inspector leaves, they discover he is

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work