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'How do the characters of An Inspector Calls emulate J.B Priestly's views?'

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Introduction

Helen Russell An Inspector Calls 'How do the characters of An Inspector Calls emulate J.B Priestly's views?' An Inspector Calls is a timeless classic; an idealistic plays which represents the conscience of the nation at the time that the play was written. J. B. Priestly wrote the play in 1945, but it was set in 1912, on the night that the Titanic sank. This is important as the Titanic signifies the dreams of the nation and the ironic sinking of the unsinkable ship was like the destruction of any hopes and dreams there may have been for the future and the sinking of society. This consequently led to the First World War. The play is based on a Satire, otherwise known as the mocking of society. Priestly used the Birling family as a target to show how their naive and selfish views are such a mockery, that you can't live a life caring about no one but yourself, and that his socialist way of living was much better and of less harm to innocent bystanders. This is also because it seems on the surface to be a normal detective story, but there are no convictions made, therefore the moral of the play being more important than the clich� of a detective story. The opinions aired in the play were also completely the opposite of what the people of 1945 wanted, and it just took the play to make them realise that. ...read more.

Middle

Mr Birling was opposed to this as it would have meant adding twelve percent to his labour costs, which although he could have easily afforded, he chose not to do. Instead he had Eva Smith fired, along with a few other girls who had joined in on the campaign for decent wages. Mr Birling represents capitalism, and in a speech shortly before the arrival of the Inspector, he actually described socialist writers as 'cranks' that think 'everybody has to look after everybody else, as if we are all mixed up together like bees in a hive.' However, Mr Birling's personal opinion is that 'a man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own.' Mr Birling also thinks he knows best for his family...for instance, when he talks of the Titanic he doesn't seem to understand that there is no such thing as an unsinkable ship. 'The Titanic - she sails next week - forty-six thousand, eight hundred tons...New York in five days - and every luxury - and unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable.' And later Mr Birling mentions 'a few German Officers talking nonsense and a few scaremongers here making a fuss about nothing.' Undoubtedly he is talking about the war, that he seems so sure will never happen. This is therefore dramatic irony, as the Titanic did sink and the war did happen. This is particularly important because Mr Birling is a metaphor for capitalism and the speech is wrong, just like capitalism is. ...read more.

Conclusion

After the Inspector leaves, and it becomes known that the Inspector isn't wasn't who he said he was, the other Birling family members seem to think that it doesn't matter and they can just forget about it, and it is only Sheila, and Eric to a certain extent, that tell the others that they should not forget what they have learnt and although Eric began to understand socialism, I don't think it was to the same degree as Sheila. Therefore, to conclude, I think that the characters in the play emulate Priestly's views in a great many ways. With Sheila and Eric disagreeing and arguing with their parents they show that young people are more impressionable than older people, as Priestly said ' the old are too rigid in their attitudes to learn any lessons: hope for the future lies with the young.' The way Mr Birling spoke so confidently that the Titanic would not sink and there would not be a war shows that ignorance is most certainly not a virtue. Priestly wrote the play with the hope that it would give the audiences more morality and responsibility. He wanted his play to say something about people. He wanted his audiences to have to look at human beings through the author's eyes, free of conventional attitudes or comfortable illusions, in the hope that this fresh view may stimulate questions that shake our complacency about ourselves. The people who learn the most from their experience are Sheila and Eric, which again shows that young people are indeed more impressionable than older people. ...read more.

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