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Inspector Calls - How effectively does Priestley convey his message?

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Introduction

Inspector Calls Coursework How effectively does Priestley convey his message? An Inspector Calls was written by J.B. Priestley in 1945 but is set in an earlier period before World War I. The play concerns the Birlings who are celebrating their daughter's engagement to Gerald Croft. Fairly early on in the play an inspector arrives investigating a suicide. Due to his arrival the evening is ruined for the Birlings, but some of the family learn some important moral values about life during the course of the evening. Priestley believed in responsibility and preached a compassionate and broad type of socialism. The Inspector, an enigmatic figure, is used to portray this message. It is through the idea of the detective thriller, that Priestley conveys his moral message, which particularly had considerable dramatic impact on the audiences at that time. The first scene reveals how the Birlings are before the Inspector arrives. They are enjoying a celebratory engagement dinner. They seem like a respectable, happy family and Arthur Birling is delighted about the wedding match because his daughter's fianc� is the son of a prosperous business rival, Sir George Croft, who he views as his social superior. ...read more.

Middle

Sheila is the force for presenting what the group should be feeling about Eva's death and how their consciences should be responding. By the end of the play she has learnt compassion for her fellow human beings which provides hope for the future. The Inspector behaves as the voice of social conscience to promote the message of responsibility towards others in the community. The message that Priestley puts across most plainly is that being responsible for oneself is not enough. 'We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other'. The Inspector shows perhaps his true view, that social responsibilities become greater as privileges increase. At the end of the play he gives a stern speech about the need for collective responsibility because 'if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish'. This is in direct contrast to Arthur Birling's speech which talks about every one for himself and the survival of the fittest. Mr and Mrs Birling have no sense of responsibility towards others in society, as they believe every man should look after their own. ...read more.

Conclusion

Eva Smith's character represents ordinary people who can be destroyed by indifference when society fails to grant them the right of basic human dignity. Priestley creates sympathy in the audience and in some of the play's characters. They and we can see a young life destroyed by their complacency, selfishness and thoughtlessness. An Inspector Calls is a play that has a strong message for the audience about the need to care for others in society. This play presents a short amount of time in which those who are amenable face up to their guilt and faults and are able to learn a moral message. In this way Priestley's message has been conveyed effectively. Priestley's aim is to influence the audience to the community and responsibility. Priestley placed twists to take the play away from a particular character, to make the play more significant to the audience. An Inspector Calls has considerable dramatic impact because the audience feels, responds and takes sides with characters as they are being questioned and are involved throughout the play. However post war audiences would appreciate Priestley's divination of a lesson, 'they will be taught in fire and blood and anguish'. 1 ...read more.

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