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How does our knowledge of events affect our understanding of Mr Birling and any other character you find interesting? Why do you imagine Priestley set his play in the past? Is the play as relevant today as it was in 1946?

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Introduction

'An Inspector Calls' was set in 1912 but was 1st produced in 1946. Research the historical events mentioned in the play. How does our knowledge of events affect our understanding of Mr Birling and any other character you find interesting? Why do you imagine Priestley set his play in the past? Is the play as relevant today as it was in 1946? 'An Inspector Calls' was written by J.B. Priestley in 1945 shortly after the Second World War. However, it is set in 1912 prior to the Great War. At that time, Britain still had its Empire and was a wealthy country. Priestley wrote the play intentionally, as he saw an urgent need for social change and used the play to express his desire for social equality. The play takes us into the comfortable and complacent world of the Birling family, at their home in the industrial city of Brumley, in the North Midlands. The family are enjoying a dinner party in celebration of their daughter Sheila's engagement to Gerald Croft, when a mysterious police inspector arrives and says that he is investigating the suicide of a young working-class girl, Eva Smith. ...read more.

Middle

Mr Birling also predicts that: war with Germany would not occur, as it would upset profit making of business men, such as himself (the war started two years later), he claims there will be no problems with labour relations (there was a general strike in 1926) and in 1940 all will be "peace and prosperity". An audience in 1946 were still suffering the effects of the lack of peace in 1940 and to them, all of these predictions must have seemed fairly humorous as they could easily understand Mr Birling's foolishness by his false predictions. He seems oblivious to the warning signs of such serious issues in spite of his son's attempts to warn him. Also, Mr Birling chooses to blank out many of the bad aspects of life, which he conceitedly believes no on values highly as they do not concern him directly. Priestley's device of writing in hindsight on this occasion makes the play meaningful to the audience, as they would learn from the mistakes of Mr Birling. One of Priestley's main messages to the audience of 1946 is that all human beings are guilty of taking things for granted and they should not consider themselves safe from trouble just because England has won the war. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, similar themes and messages are still present with these different issues. 'An Inspector Calls' clearly conveys the idea that the Birling household was an ivory tower on its own island in a sea of despair, unable to look beyond itself. Today, Britain could be described in the same way in the light of world poverty, and therefore this is an example of how Priestley's messages can be relevant in the modern society, even though the issues involved have changed. I believe the overall moral in "An Inspector Calls" has something to do with how events can take effect on someone's life over a period of time. We should think about the less fortunate than ourselves, and how our actions could take a massive impact on others who live and work around us. I think that Priestley hoped the play would challenge the audience of any year, with their moral beliefs of right and wrong. Everybody's interpretation of "An Inspector Calls" is different, and indeed the play teaches different people, different things. The viewer is made to think carefully about the hidden messages, and consider the possible consequences of a wrong action. The play should make us think about past thoughtless actions and what we would do if we are ever in that situation again. ?? ?? ?? ?? - 1 - ...read more.

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