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J. B Priestly’s play has been described as an allegory. To what extent do you think this is true? What could be said to be the deeper meaning or implicit message of An Inspector Calls?

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Introduction

J. B Priestly's play has been described as an allegory. To what extent do you think this is true? What could be said to be the deeper meaning or implicit message of An Inspector Calls? An allegory is a story in which the meaning of the message is described using symbolism. An Inspector Calls can be described as an Allegory because of J. B Priestly's attempt to put his socialist views across within the text. He does this through a variety of sources particularly the time period in which the play is set and the attitudes of the characters. The play is set in 1912, two years before World War One and in the same year as the sinking of the Titanic . This date is symbolic as the play is written in hindsight, this gives Priestly the chance to use dramatic irony. The characters which are the major cause of symbolism within the play. All of the characters must be examined on two levels. At face value, that is to say the level at which one is present just from a cursory reading of the play, and at the symbolic level that can be discovered upon closer examination of the text. ...read more.

Middle

He is brother to Sheila and in approximately the same age bracket and as such shares many of the same characteristics. He admits that he was wrong in his treatment of the girl, when the inspector tells him to "remember what you did" Eric quickly replies in a guilty tone "I'm not likely to". Eric, I believe, represents the young generation. He could be said to be a victim of his class, because of his treatment of Eva. He is much the same character as Sheila on the symbolic level, the only real difference being that he is male and thus Priestly can represent both side of the young generation in the same play. However he is a weaker character than Sheila because he takes he lead from her in all the statements he makes in support of the Inspector. Gerald is the last character to be examined that was actually present at the Birling's celebratory dinner. Described in the stage direction as "an attractive chap about thirty, rather too manly to be a dandy but very much the easy-well bred young-man-about-town". Gerald is marrying Sheila but from even a cursory reading of the text you get the impression that it is not necessarily a match purely based on desire. ...read more.

Conclusion

He worked as a wool clerk before the war. Once the war broke out Priestly joined up almost immediately. He was wounded in action on the Somme, his was cited in dispatches for his valour. He spent a number of months at home recuperating but once able he re-enlisted almost immediately. He was again wounded, gassed and buried alive by a German shell. These experiences had a profound affect upon him and his writing style. He was appalled by the lack of concern from the aristocratic generals in sending working class battalions "over the top". He became a socialist on his return to Britain. He completed a degree at Cambridge and set to work as a journalist. These experiences all created the attitude which was portrayed in An Inspector calls. He felt that it was not fair that working class people could not get the education and opportunities that the higher classes could receive. Priestly's main aims in an inspector calls were to highlight the gross exploitation of the poor by the upper classes. To sum up I believe that it would be true to say that An Inspector Calls is an allegorical play. I think that the main meaning of An inspector calls is that of caution for the upper classes, Priestly is saying that they must change their behaviour otherwise they will be "Inspected" as the Birlings were. ...read more.

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