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

How Priestly explores social and moral issues in 'An Inspector Calls'.

Extracts from this document...


How Priestly explores social and moral issues in 'An Inspector Calls'. In 'An Inspector Calls' Priestly explores many social and moral issues that become clear as the plot and characters develop throughout the play. Priestly wants to show the Birlings about collective responsibility and consequences of their actions which I will go into greater depth later. Priestly is concerned about class, poverty and riches; factory work and women's labour; women's position in society, unwanted pregnancy and prostitution and also the fact that society can be fixed through taking collective responsibility to try and improve all of these concerns and issues. Is this play morality or mystery? The audience starts off by thinking the play is a simple whodunit but end up with the realization that the play is a morality play. 'An Inspector Calls' is set in 1912 but written in 1944 and first performed in 1945. These dates are significant because 1912 was the year the Titanic sunk and was just before the First World War. ...read more.


If we look at what the Inspector is trying to teach the Birlings individually one can find many social and moral issues. Arthur Birling is a prosperous factory owner whose first priority is to make money. He puts his work and business before his wife and children and strongly believes that a man has to 'make his own way.' By using the character of Arthur Birling, Priestly portrays how men though so little about women's rights and feelings. Arthur Birling thinks of society as a hierarchy and any one below him should be treated with less respect and thought than him. When Eva Smith asks Arthur Birling for more money he dismisses her from her work because she dared to ask. This is one of Priestly's main concerns about society. Every one should be treated equally whatever there wealth, gender, religion, ethnic origin and race. At first Sheila Birling is considered to be a spoiled young woman who does not work and sponges off of her father. ...read more.


Therefore the social issue about the over consumption of alcohol is explored and links in with the unwanted pregnancy possibly due to alcohol. Another character that represents moral and social issues is Mrs Birling. She is the head of a women's committee who help women in trouble such as Eva Smith. Mrs Birling disbelieves Eva Smiths story and rejects her because she lied about her name. However her story was partly true and Mrs Birling had a responsibility to her charity cases. The issue of charity and women's position in society is explored. One can conclude that the playwright's message is that society is full off disruption due to jealousy, dis-concern, recklessness and lack of respect to other people amongst the community. Everyone should be considered equal but not to the extreme of communism. Equal rights between women and men and those of different races should be the main concern of society and everyone should take collective responsibility to improve society. This is still relevant today because all of the issues explored in 'An Inspector Calls' are still happening at present. Shaun Meadows English Coursework ...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. How does J.B Priestly explore the issues of social responsibility on 'An Inspector Calls'?

    But Eric and Sheila are not so eager to forget and find their parents attitude amazing as well as become concerned that they have not learned anything from this episode. By revealing the involvement of the several characters the theme that social responsibility should not be abused is reinforced.

  2. J.B. Priestly was a playwright concerned with the ideas of capitalism, socialism, individual and ...

    I noticed that the celebration mood in the house changes immediately especially Mr Birling's tone. Before the doorbell Mr Birling is very talkative after the doorbell he is very suspicious and conserved, mainly when Edna mentions the visitor is an Inspector.

  1. "An Inspector Calls" - issues raised in the play concerning the social structure ...

    The audience will probably pick up on this and it creates a sense of tension, this is obviously a subject which Gerald and Sheila feel badly about and the audience becomes interested in what it means, it stands out as the happy situation of the engagement party has been tarnished slightly.

  2. Social and Moral responsibilites of the characters?

    When the Inspector arrives, Sheila is out of the room. When she enters, she is immediately drawn into the situation, asking questions that her father isn�t pleased about. When the news of the death of Eva Smith has finally been told, Sheila is shocked - "How horrible - was it an accident?"

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