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How does Priestley reveal his views about responsibility? Do you think he gets his message across successfully?

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Introduction

How does Priestley reveal his views about responsibility? Do you think he gets his message across successfully? In the play 'An Inspector calls' JB Priestley tries to put a message across to the readers that everyone should be responsible for everyone else. In this essay I will be explaining how he sends this message to the readers by using the characters as bad examples and saying the message through the characters in the play. In the play, the Birling family were of very high and important class. However Priestley despised the higher classes of that time in 1912, so he showed most of the Birling family to be selfish and stuck-up people, who appeared to be very full of themselves as a higher class. They looked down on the lower classes and took advantage of them whenever they could. However he was extremely fond of the lower classes as he thought they were kind-hearted people. So he showed them as gentle and considerate. J.B Priestley makes the character Arthur Birling (the head of the Birling House) seem like he always thinks he's right; for example when Arthur says that there definitely wont be a war and that the titanic wont sink because it is unsinkable. ...read more.

Middle

Before marriage, women were not allowed to be sexually active. However most men wouldn't like this and would get sexual attention from somewhere else. They would seduce poorer women of the lower classes and in exchange for this; the woman would get material rewards that the higher classes and the rich might not find very nice-looking anymore, maybe an old possession of theirs that they no longer wanted. Gerald's relationship with Eva shows that the moral attitudes of his class at this time were that men used women, purely because they could and they had the power to. It also shows that women were less privileged and honoured than men because the men were allowed to be sexually active before marriage and women were not. Men were probably allowed to do a lot of other things that women couldn't as well, and had more advantage than them. It wasn't right for Gerald to have an affair with Eva Smith (who had by then changed her name to Daisy Renton) because he was going to get married and it was not fair on Sheila Birling, his wife to be. He had no intention of marrying Eva, which made his affair even worse, and he didn't love Eva as she loved him, which was also unfair on Eva, and it gave you the idea, and gave way the fact that he was just using her. ...read more.

Conclusion

Overall I think the play is extremely effective. It shows the characters of the different types of people and classes in 1912 and how they treated various classes. It also shows how a few small bad things can add up to creating something dreadful (subtle things can turn out to be very large and affective). However the ending alters the entire play because it becomes a mystery to the audience and exceptionally confusing. It creates a lot of different questions. The readers then begin to think that inspector Goole was in fact not an inspector at all, but they query who he was. This play could have a relevance to why it was set in 1912 because it was just before the war, and the rich were very wealthy, but the poor were extremely unprivileged. This changes after the war and I think he might have been trying to compare Britain's citizen's attitudes before and after the war and how before the war Britain had a completely different outlook on life. Overall J.B Priestley gets his message across very clearly to the audience and shows them that people are responsible for the people they meet and how they affect them. He shows that every little thing we say or do to someone can have an affect on them, or even their lives. Nancy Ackland 11.10.2008 ...read more.

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