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In What Ways Does Priestley Present the Effect of the Inspector's Visit on One or Two of the Characters in the Play?

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Introduction

In What Ways Does Priestley Present the Effect of the Inspector's Visit on One or Two of the Characters in the Play? 'An Inspector Calls' is a well worded tale set in 1912 about a suicide shrouded in mystery. The playwright J. B. Priestley creates suspense and curiosity as the information is slowly revealed landing full responsibility on an unsuspecting family. The Birling household had been celebrating the engagement of their daughter to a rather successful business man during the time when social classes strongly divided England. Suddenly an Inspector arrives, looking and sounding rather suspicious for a policeman at that time, and claims that a suicide has every member of the household involved somehow. The play sees all of its scenes set in the Birling's living room in Brumley. Described as 'the dining room of a fairly large suburban house' with 'good solid furniture' and 'heavily comfortable'. It makes me think of a family who believe that looks are important and that they also may not be that close as there seems nothing too cosy about the setting. The Birling's prove to be of a rather wealthy family of middle, to maybe even upper, class. Before the times of the two world wars, the social ladder was very important in England and the economic divide showed this. Eight million people lived on less than 25 shillings (�1.25) a week whereas 7000 people alone owned four fifths of English land. ...read more.

Middle

She is slightly childlike but then she has never had a reason to grow up. She is also very happy and 'pleased with life.' I have chosen this character to analyse because she is the person most affected by the situation. She matures dramatically throughout the play and is left even criticizing her own parents by then end. During Sheila's first encounter with the Inspector, she is extremely inquisitive. She wants to know what is going on and she becomes interested in every detail of the investigation, 'What business? What's happening?' She is open to questioning and very honest about everything she says. She wants to be able to help in any way she can to get to the bottom of the case. As she took full responsibility, the Inspector warmed to her slightly and never used an aggressive manner of speaking towards her. He occasionally offered words of sympathy to her such as when Sheila asked, 'So I'm really responsible?' and the Inspector replied, 'No, not entirely. A good deal happened to her after that.' Just slightly before the Inspector arrived, Mr Birling was speaking about the need to share with no one except yourself and your immediate family so how ironic that Sheila will not share her guilt with anyone in the family. The impact the Inspector has on her is incredibly big and is arguably more-so than anyone else in the family. I think her response is very mature and sympathetic whereas her parents seemed to take very little care in the whole situation. ...read more.

Conclusion

even though she was trying to help. Priestley's moral was to create equality in communities. He wanted people to realize that if things didn't change then there will always be people dying unnecessarily out of poverty when others are rolling in wealth. Priestley also knew that the country would keep being punished with wars until they learnt their lesson. These morals are relevant to todays society because we still hear of people with millions of pounds and celebrity status giving very little to charities that help people who are living on the brink of starvation. It is also a main part to the war we are now fighting in Iraq. We find the poor people of this country going into the army to fight for us because they need the money, and not getting anything out of it as they are fighting to carry on the poverty stricken life they lead. This story is being taught still for people to notice the different classes and way of life for millions of people. However we can only achieve so much as awareness is important but no millionaire will part with their money so everyone can be equal. I think Priestley was more effective by writing this play than by doing any political movement because when this idea was written down, the story can now be passed on for generations until Priestley achieves his ambition. He has raised a lot of awareness and maybe through the years, society will eventually be much more equal than it ever has been. Bethan Siddons ...read more.

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