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

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

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

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. Free essay

    "AN INSPECTOR CALLS" By J. B. Priestly has been described as a play of ...

    Which happen to be the key points Priestly was trying to criticize at the time. At this point, the audience are building up a picture of Eva/Daisy, which would probably make them heavily sympathetic towards her character.

  2. An inspector calls by J.B. Priestly - Who killed Eva Smith?

    We feel less hatred for Sheila than we did for Mr. Birling, even though her act was a lot more selfish and a lot less understandable than Mr. Birlings' was. She obviously feels guilty and is distressed hearing what eventually happened to Eva, that was maybe a result of her ill-tempered behaviour.

  1. Compare and contrast the characters of Inspector Goole and Mr Birling in Act One. ...

    He will find out what he does not already know. The Inspector is the catalyst in the play. He speeds up all the confessions of the characters in the play by the belief of the other characters that he already knows everything and he tries to make them change in order to help society.

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

    It is his way of expressing his socialist views. To explore the issues of social responsibility within this play, Priestly has thought about the plot structure and how he has chosen to set out his dialogue. It is clearly divided into three acts. The first act is the initiation of the play.

  1. An Inspector Calls by J.B Priestly was first performed in 1946. It is still ...

    From the end of the play we know she has learnt her lesson but unlike Eric she makes it clear and tries to teach the others who refuse to take blame for what they have done as long as nobody knows.

  2. An inspector calls by J.B Priestly

    out two years after the play was set and the American stock market crashed in 1929, plunging the world into economic chaos. This leads us to regard him as a man of many words but little sense! If we contrast the character of Birling with that of the Inspector, we can see Priestly's aims showing.

  1. Make a detailed analysis of the development of at least 2 characters from An ...

    In contrast in the opening scene we can see Sheila being a possessive character because just after her father and Gerald talk about the port, she says "I should jolly well think not, Gerald. I'd hate you to know all about port".

  2. Imagine you have been asked to direct J.B. Priestley's "An Inspector Calls". What Instructions ...

    Mr Birling will then before receiving an answer from his wife, carefully stand up from his chair and walk around the dinning table to a side table, where he takes a clean crystal port glass, and pours out a measured amount of port.

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