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Inspector Calls

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Inspector Calls An Inspector calls was written by J.B Priestley in 1945 and was first performed as a play at the new theatre on the 1st of October 1946. At first the play wasn't successful and didn't go down too well with critics, but now it's known not only as one of J.B Priestley's' best plays, but one of the best plays written in recent history. The play consists of seven characters and is set in one room. This setting doesn't change throughout the whole of the play and is based in Mr Birling's dining room. The play starts with all of the Birling family sitting around the dining room table celebrating their daughters engagement, the meal comes to an end and Sheila and Mrs Birling retire to the drawing room, leaving the gentlemen to smoke cigars and drink port, as was tradition in that social circle. Mr Birling continued to express his port fuelled opinions with the captive audience of his son-in-law to be, when the mood is changed by the entrance of the Inspector. The family are mystified by the intrusion of their privacy at this time especially when he goes on to inform them of a girl who has died in the hospital that evening after drinking disinfectant, emphasising that she'd been driven to suicide. All the family are shocked by the news and mystified by the implication that they are involved in, but it soon becomes clear that through different interactions with the girl over the past year they could all be implicated in her deterioration. ...read more.


This highlights the difference in the two characters from they way they dress to the way they talk. I believe Mr Birling is portrayed this way as it symbolises how selfish he is and how important he thinks he is, he often launches into conversation without thinking things through in rather a bombastic manner. The Inspector on the other hand is very thoughtful and delivers calculated well thought out statements. Being of a high social class is very important to Mr Birling and there are many examples in the play which suggest this for example at the start of Act 1 when Mr Birling is talking about the port he bought for the party he says 'you ought to like this port Gerald. As a matter of fact, Finchley told me it's exactly the same port your father gets from him.' This shows that he thinks that by having similar tastes as Gerald's father, he therefore must be of similar social standing. Later on in Act 1 Birling asks for his family to leave the room, so that he can talk to Gerald in private. He then goes on to boast about how is expecting to get a knighthood, using this as a tool to justify that Sheila should be thought of as a good social match for Gerald. Even though this information would be top secret he is willing for it to leak out in the hope that it would make a difference to how he is perceived .He will stop at nothing to get what he wants, morally he has very little regard for anyone who gets in his way. ...read more.


Birling is getting worried about the line of questioning regardless of the reason. The Inspector however doesn't back down but maintains his focus of justice for the dead girl. He replies'I didn't do it she's upsetting herself.' This also shows that the Inspector isn't intimidated by Birling and that he doesn't care how angry Birling gets, he will always keep calm and in control and keep going until he has pursued his line of enquiry. In conclusion throughout the play the Inspector doesn't gather one piece of information he doesn't already know. J B Priestley uses the different characters to show how moral values are much stronger than any amount flash talking or social standing. He was able to use the character of the Inspector to highlight how badly the Birlings and Gerald had treated this young girl and probably others who they feel are of a lower social class. The Inspector is a very confident and commanding character throughout the play and is always in control of all the other characters. In the end it was his character who could have been of a higher social class not the Birlings. This is a very well written play which has a big emphasis on morality and probably makes the audience look at themselves and their behaviour in comparison to the characters on stage. It has stood the test of time over the years as its theme and lesson in morality can be used from the nineteenth to the twentieth century. ...read more.

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