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How does An Inspector Calls highlight the theme of responsibility?

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Introduction

How does the play highlight the theme of responsibility? ‘An Inspector Calls’ was written in 1942 by J.B. Priestley, however, the play was based in 1912 and the author uses hindsight to create irony within the play. The main themes of the play are responsibility and conscience, the importance of it is taught by the inspector. The play is written around the story of a poor lower class girl who always seems to be fighting against the Birling’s power. Each of the Birlings contribute towards making Eva/Daisy’s life miserable, unintentionally pushing her towards committing suicide. Despite their actions and the Inspectors disapproval some of the Birlings and their daughter’s fiancé, Gerald, refuse to take responsibility and treat the whole thing as a joke not to be learnt from. ...read more.

Middle

Sheila jumped to conclusions upon seeing the girl smile assuming she was laughing at her and blackmailed the manager at Milwards, ‘if they didn’t get rid of that girl, I’d never go near the place again.’ Thankfully, Sheila is more open to the Inspector’s logic and accepts her part of the responsibility feeling dreadful. Gerald, Sheila’s fiancé, also has blame to shoulder. When Eva changed her name to Daisy Gerald became involved with her, ‘She became your mistress?’ This not only affected Daisy’s life but also Sheila’s, ‘I’m sorry, Sheila,’ after discovering the Inspector was a fake Gerald accepts responsibility for the affair but not for the girl’s death. ...read more.

Conclusion

Eric obviously regrets his actions and sides with his sister on taking responsibility. The play is focused on leading up to the Inspector?s final speech. ?We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will come soon when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish.? Here the Inspector is not only addressing the other characters but also the audience. J.B. Priestley explores the acceptance of responsibility through each of the characters. His aim is to convey an important message to the audience, we are responsible for our actions and their consequences. The play shows us that everyone is responsible, not just the lower classes, the upper class should be more aware as their actions have larger consequences. ...read more.

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