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How Do The Characters In An Inspector Calls Reflect 1912 Society?

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How Do The Characters In 'An Inspector Calls' Reflect 1912 Society? J.B Priestley, born in 1894 in Bradford. He went to Bradford Grammar School but did not decide to go to University but to follow his passion for writing, first he wrote articles for the local London papers before going on to be a playwright. He joined the army in 1914 at the age of 20. After being on the frontline in the Second World War, Priestley became very political and started to involve his political opinions in his work, as in 'An Inspector Calls' which he wrote in the second week after the Second World War which only took him a week to finish. He put his message across to the audience through the play, which states that people of all the social classes must learn to get along with each other since everyday is spent together. The play 'An Inspector Calls' is set in 1912 but written in 1945. The characters reflect the society of 1912 in many ways. There are six main characters that reflect 1912 society and one character, the Inspector, who takes control and who basically expresses the opinions of Priestley. ...read more.


Mrs Birling is the stereotypical wife of 1912. She stays at home while her husband goes out to work, women in society at this time though that it was a 'woman's place' to be at home while the man was working, this is alright for the upper class women but for women who were working class, there wouldn't be enough money coming in- so the women had to work as well. Upper class women of 1912 would not do housework because they could to afford for a working class woman to be their parlour maid, in this case Edna. Mrs Birling gets her high social position because of her husband, he is a well respected businessman, an ex-magistrate and Lord Mayor, she probably also got her status from her parents, they must have been well known so that she was able to be in the upper class and to marry a wealthy business man- Arthur Birling. Mrs Birling's character is very pretentious one, she believes she is always right and always justified, for example when the Inspector believed that Mrs Birling turning down Eva's call for help was wrong, she replied with things like, "You're quite wrong to suppose that I shall regret what I did." ...read more.


Mr and Mrs Birling are quite shocked from what the Inspector had informed them with but even after the Inspector had left they still thought that it was outrageous the Inspector coming in and placing the blame on them, Mr and Mrs Birling learnt nothing except that a suicide had been committed at the infirmary. Eric and Sheila had regretted what they had put Eva through and this message that Priestley had intended the audience realise was made clear through the way Eric and Sheila acted. The Inspector said, "I tell you that the time will come when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish." Priestley uses dramatic irony here, people of all classes had to join together to fight in "fire an blood and anguish," because they fought the First World War, the audience of 1946 knew this and so they could relate to the message that Priestley had wanted to get across and the lesson was learnt by the classes because after the wars, there were no social divisions. In conclusion the characters of 'An Inspector Calls' do reflect society in 1912 in many ways with the play making a clear message for the audience to think about and how and why they should have changed their ways for the good of humanity. Lewis Powell 10C ...read more.

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