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

J. B. Priestley's 'An Inspector Calls' is a play with messages. What are these messages? How and why are these messages delivered?

Extracts from this document...


J. B. Priestley's 'An Inspector Calls' Essay Question: J. B. Priestley's 'An Inspector Calls' is a play with messages. What are these messages? How and why are these messages delivered? Personal Targets: 1) Compare within and between texts. 2) Be enthusiastic and sustain it through out the response. Priestly wrote the play in 1946 yet it was set almost 40 years previous to this in 1912. As of many of his plays such as "Time and the Calyways", "dangerous corner" and several others priestly introduces the recurring theme of what our actions can have on others. It appears that priestly set the play in 1912 for a reason, although nobody is actually certain why. Arthur Birling is the owner of Birling & Co a successful company, making him a rising middle class citizen, who thinks very fondly of himself even though more often than not; he is wrong. His family consisting four members listen attentively as he delivers a speech to them of his ideas that 'there isn't a chance of war' and the Titanic is 'unsinkable'. As the play was written after these events actually happened the audience would be aware how idiotic his thoughts were and would probably think him to be very stupid, this is an example of dramatic irony. During his speech he poses the idea 'the way some of these cranks talk and write now, you'd think everybody has to look after everybody else', this shows he is a Capitalist and very narrow minded. ...read more.


Once the line of questioning turns to Gerald, the Inspector is friendlier towards Sheila. The inspector understands that Sheila would want to hear the about Gerald's affair with Eva Smith, or "Daisy Renton" so he ensures she stays by saying, 'If she leaves now she'll think she's entirely to blame'. As Gerald is being questioned, Sheila seems to step into the role of the inspector, which she also does at the end of the end of the play after he leaves; this shows how alike her and his views are. The inspector doesn't treat Gerald with fondness or contempt. He acknowledges that 'he at least had some affection for her and made her happy for a time.' By quizzing Gerald about his affair he makes it clear to the audience that everyone should thing about there actions, as all actions have consequences. This is one message that priestly wants the audience to consider. Up until this point Mrs. Birling has not been present at one of the inspector's questionings, so she is unaware of the inspector's abruptness. She describes him as 'a trifle impertinent'. Like Arthur Birling, she seems to be apparent to receiving nothing but respect. This is because she is of a high-middle class. The Inspector correctly treats the characters with the same disregard as they gave Eva Smith. Mrs. Birling becomes increasingly annoyed at how the Inspector treats her. ...read more.


I also believe that the Priestly used the idea of war to put across his theory was because it was a major issue at that time, and people were still suffering the consequences of it. Priestly also seems to be asking "What kind of society are we fighting to save?" The final scene of the play is one of which the Birling's receive a telephone call from the police stating 'a girl has just died.... after swallowing some disinfectant' and a real inspector would be arriving shortly to investigate them. This is an unexpected twist. The impostor inspector was there to punish them on a moral level which he managed to succeed in doing with two of the party, Eric and Sheila yet not with the others. As Mr. and Mrs. Birling and Gerald were all afraid of a public scandal no doubt that is what the real inspector will provide although as the story has ended we will not find out. I believed that without the twist at the end the play would not have the same effect as Mr. and Mrs. Birling and Gerald would have avoided punishment. The inspector's role in the play is to teach and provide a channel for Priestly to present his own messages, in respect to the story he did this by informing the Birling household what they had caused a girl to do due to their actions. In regards of the whole society, he did this by voicing Priestley's opinions that we cannot live together peacefully if we do not work together. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...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. Discussthe role of the Inspector in the play 'An Inspector Calls'

    Following this, Gerald then queries the fact that a girl has actually committed suicide, commenting, "I say-there's no more real evidence we did than there was that that chap was a real Police Inspector." and also, "All right, you all admitted something to do with girl.

  2. "Public men, Mr Birling, have their responsibilities as well as their privileges." Show how ...

    It is the Inspector who makes things happen. Without him none of the secrets would otherwise come out into the open. The Inspector leads the characters to confront their own weaknesses, which makes them feel shocked and guilty. He is a catalyst for the evening's events. In the Inspector's last speech, he says: - "But just remember this.

  1. In what ways does J B Priestley present the effect of the Inspectors visit ...

    can't let these Bernard Shaws and H G Wellses do all the talking. We hard-headed businessmen must say something sometime." Arthur Birling doesn't like these two authors because they were two men who opposed capitalists' ideals and unlike Birling, did not believe it was the only way forward.

  2. Analyse and compare the roles of two characters in 'An Inspector Calls' By J ...

    Sheila is described as 'a pretty girl in her early twenties, very pleased with life and rather excited' This makes the reader feel happy for her, we think a young girl happy and excited, that's a refreshing difference to her cold hearted mother.

  1. Write about the function of inspector Goole in the play. How does J. B ...

    Priestley wrote this play because he wanted to 'consciously intend it to make a contribution to public understanding' (Utopian Vision). 'The play opens with a scene of great luxury: a wealthy family is celebrating an engagement in a very lavish fashion.

  2. 'An Inspector Calls' is a play with important messages for any society'. Explore the ...

    This may make the idea of Socialism look positive but if the idea is such a good one why has the USA never elected a Socialist President? The idea is regarded as being too close to communism and this made Hitler especially hate the Socialist theories.

  1. Post-1914 drama 'An Inspector Calls' by J B Priestley - Consider act one of ...

    his class can continue to grow rich and strong, can be exemplified in his belief that The Titanic, the greatest example of modern, capitalist might, will never sink. All those who watched An Inspector Calls, and thought back to the general strike of 1926, and the revolution in Russia in

  2. How far do you consider the inspector successful in interrogating the Birling Family? To ...

    and Lord Mayor two years ago - and I'm still on the bench - so I know the Brumley police officers pretty well." In a way he tries to bully the Inspector by stating that he is very close to the chief of police and that he is a high

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