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Is "An Inspector Calls" merely a prolonged clatter of skeletons?

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Introduction

Is "An Inspector Calls" merely a prolonged clatter of skeletons? By the phrase "A prolonged clatter of skeletons" we mean a long drawn out revelation of many secrets. To some extents this is true of "An Inspector Calls", but to say that this is the limit of the play's message would be unfair to the hidden depths contained within. "An Inspector Calls" is a well-structured and well-made play because it contains many factors that captivate and sustain the attention of the audience. One of the factors that makes the play captivating is the use of climax, the way it holds the audience all the way through, building up slowly, gathering the plot as it goes on and then finally ends in a stunning climax, for example the way the Inspector extracts small threads of information from the members of the family and slowly puts the picture together and narrows it down to the main culprit as the climax. John Boynton Priestley wrote "An Inspector Calls" in 1945 shortly after the end of the Second World War, when society was still experiencing the hardships of war. Despite a severe damage to the economic situation of Britain after the war, when paper and other such resources were in short supply, the publisher thought it important to print this play. ...read more.

Middle

The Inspector in the play is a mysterious man who comes and goes without a trace and seems to have no background. It seems he is more of a guilty feeling than a person. Throughout the play, the Inspector is in control and doesn't feel intimidated at any point. He is a channel for Priestley's views and criticisms on the social mores of the time. "A man has to make his own way - has to look after himself - and his family too, of course" (Mr Birling) The Inspector is a contrast to the Birlings as he seems to favour community responsibilities rather than individual ones. The Birlings represent the richer people in society that do not care for their fellow people in the nineteen tens, for example Mr Birling sacked the girl Eva Smith for striking for a higher salary, but the demand was minuscule. "It is my duty to keep labour costs down" was his reason for not giving her the pay rise. They are set so far away from the community that they did not even realise that Eva Smith had died; they find this out only when the Inspector brings it to their attention. ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows that Sheila really has learnt her lesson and that the Inspector had done his job. "And I say the girl's dead and we all helped to kill her- and that's what matters." (Eric Act 3) "An Inspector Calls" resembles a modern morality play. This means that the characters in the play each represent a certain type of person in society and aims to deliver a political message. The characters change throughout the play. The younger generation seems to mature more than the older generations. The play also deals with the issue of time and at the end of the play we have returned almost to the same place in which we began. The characters are given the chance to do things differently, maybe not to the same girl but to countless others in her position. This is also representative of real life. Between the time span 1912-1945 we have seen what happens to an uncaring society, not just in Britain but in the world as a whole. The world experienced World Wars, unrest, Depression, the atomic bomb, fascism and the Holocaust. By 1945, when the play was written, it was possible to look back and see that a full circle had taken place and now was the opportunity to begin a new one. ...read more.

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