• 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'

    This ending takes the audience back to the beginning when the inspector arrives. It leaves us thinking whether the Inspector was some kind of sprit warning the Birlings. The supernatural quality - the idea of time- is involved in the characters and audience's thoughts.

  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. An Inspector Calls. What Is The Political Message In The J.B. Priestly Play 'An ...

    Firstly Priestly makes Birling put through the opinion of what communist would have thought in 1912 and uses them to make the audience discredit Mr Birlings views an example of this is in Birlings speeches to Gerald and Eric as he says; "There's a lot of wild talk about possible labour trouble in the near future.

  2. 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.

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

    And also it implies that she shows her feelings and has a different outlook on life. In the first scene of the play the curtain goes up and the whole family are sitting round a large formally laid dining table.

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

    In addition, he wants to show how the mood changes when the inspector arrives and how differently they each behave. In a theatre production, this is emphasised effectively by low lightning and heavy pauses. It is interesting because in the beginning Sheila and Eric are respectful and heed what their

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

    The family is obviously well off and appear to have a nice life. The play starts off with the Birling family celebrating their daughter Sheila, on her engagement to Gerald Croft. As they commence in conversation, Mr Birling engages in his series of confident ironic speeches filled with dramatic irony.

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