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

J.B. Priestley wrote "An Inspector Calls" in 1945 just after the Second World War

Extracts from this document...


Essay on Inspector Calls. J.B. Priestley wrote "An Inspector Calls" in 1945 just after the Second World War in which he fought in. It was a time when there was immense social change in Britain. People had pulled together in war and there was optimium that this would continue with a socialist government in power. However, there was also anxiety that society wouldn't be able to restructure itself and Priestley through his play conveys this anxiety felt by him and others. It opens in 1912 with Arthur Birling a prosperous man holding a family dinner to celebrate his daughter's engagement. This cosy scene which the majority of his audience could identify with is interrupted by the arrival of a police inspector trying to find out who is responsible for the suicide of a young working class women and the reactions of all the family when they discover each played part in her death. The Inspector is very cleverly used as an embodiment of collective conscience and the social and moral responsibilities that people have to one another and those less fortunate. I think he achieves this brilliantly when his last dramatic words are "we are members of one body". It shows itself to be a morality play and the livies, hopes, suffering and happiness of people like Eva Smith are all intertwined with ours. ...read more.


Only Eric and Sheila seem to have any sense of collective responsibility to Eva's death. As mentioned above the striking timing of the Inspectors entrance is the first indication that he might be there to change attitudes. The character of Inspector Goole is the catalyst for the evening's events he is described to be in his 50's dressed in a suit and giving an impression of massiveness solidity and purposefulness Inspector Goole is a play on the name could be spelt Ghoul meaning supernatural or Ghost. He represents the moral conscience of the world just before the 2nd world war. After revealing Arthur Birlings part in Eva's death as mentioned above he talks about collective responsibility and being part of "a chain of events". If any of the characters are complained he in a sober voice mentions the infirmary and what was left of Eva Smith. His entrances and exits add drama and tension to the play and each act is left at a cliff hanger. He deliberately reveals each character one at time driving them to confess to make them see their collective responsibility in her final act of suicide. He is a moral symbol of good and justice revealing pride sloth lust etc many of the 7 deadly sins which each of the Birling are guilty of. ...read more.


By showing that the younger generation in the play learn from their mistakes he hopes all of us will take some responsibility and change society for the better, how the situation can be changed and who to depend on to change it. Throughout the idea of collective responsibility both morally and socially is promoted through the Inspector acting as our conscience and the questioning of each character individually adds to the drama suspence and tension. I feel it was a good play with twists and the double standards that people have with Eva's crime being on the wrong end of the social ladder able to be miscued by people in power. It teaches us about collective responsibility well. Hearing the characters telling their own stories and their and their reactions to the consequence of both their own and other people's actions has devastation cumulative dramatic effect which I feel is still relevant to our society today as there are still great divisions in our social classes and how power and wealth is divided around the world e.g. low working class, unemployed to the multi millionaire the rich west compared to the Third World and the unfairness of say cocoa farmers to the price of chocolate. Society could still learn from the messages in An Inspector Calls. ...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. 'An Inspector Calls' is based in 1912, before the first and second world war, ...

    As the play progresses it becomes apparent that Mrs Birling knows little of the lives of her family and that of the lives of other folk outside her home. First she is disgusted by a well known womanizer 'And surely you don't mean Alderman Meggarty!'

  2. This essay will be exploring why and how J.B Priestley presents Arthur Birling in ...

    Priestley very cleverly creates the character 'Inspector Goole' to almost imitate and represent himself. Acting almost like a messenger, Priestley uses the inspector to reflect his own message and social beliefs through the use of interrogation. The "chain of events" first started with Eva Smith's sacking at Mr Birling's company as a result of requesting an increase in her salary.

  1. 'An Inspector Calls' is a play by J B Priestley, which was written at ...

    all of them had been involved with her in some way in the past. At first each of them is reluctant to accept that they may have played a part in her death, but the Inspector's rather unusual, slightly menacing style of questioning breaks them down one by one.

  2. How far is the Inspector "an embodiment of a collective conscience" (Gareth Lloyd Evans)? ...

    J.B Priestley has given the inspector a sense of "purposefulness" because it means that he is then unintimidated by Mr Birling, who tries to frighten him by telling him that Colonel Roberts is "an old friend". He is determined and will not be mislead from his aim, remaining unalarmed by Birling's threats.

  1. "An Inspector Calls" by JB Priestley is set just before the First World War ...

    JB Priestley's main message is that we, the audience, should not be so complacent and self-centred. The playwright wants us to work as a community and be concerned about others as this might bring peace to the troubled world we live in.

  2. 'Inspector Goole is the ghostly voice of conscience' - How far do you agree ...

    audience the impression that his views of community and shared responsibility are misguided. Every one of the predictions Birling makes are wrong; the Titanic sank on her maiden voyage, World War one broke out two years after the play was set and the American stock market crashed in 1929, plunging the world into economic chaos.

  1. An Inspector CallsJ. B. Priestley - How does Priestley make a drama out of ...

    Birling treats him as anyone would casually and friendly. At first he thinks the Inspector is there because of a police warrant. However, after he finds what he is really there for - about a young woman who had just died - he reacts in a cold-hearted way, he spoke his next words "rather impatiently", more or less a so-what reaction.

  2. The play 'An Inspector Calls' by JB Priestly is a dramatic thriller. It was ...

    So this attitude may have contributed to Eva's death. This may make Birling look like a self-centred, obnoxious, business man, When the Inspector arrives, it is just when Birling has finished his verbal assault on community. It is ironic as the Inspector embraces community. It is clear to see the Inspector has character, good-manners and is good at what he does.

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