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John Boynton Priestley was a socialist. He believed that whether we acknowledged it or not, we are in a community and have a responsibility to look after others. He wrote "An Inspector Calls" to highlight these beliefs and share them.

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Introduction

John Boynton Priestley was a socialist. He believed that whether we acknowledged it or not, we are in a community and have a responsibility to look after others. He wrote "An Inspector Calls" to highlight these beliefs and share them. In writing this essay, I intend to show Priestley's aims in writing the play, how he showed these aims and how successful he was in conveying his ideas. You can only speculate on the aims of a playwright in writing a play. In the case of "An Inspector Calls", a valid speculation would be that the author aimed to educate the audience through the characters' realisation of their role in Eva Smith's demise and thus their individual responsibility towards other people. Arthur Birling is the kind of character the whole play warns against. "A hard-headed business man", he believes that society is as it should be. The rich stay rich, the poor stay poor and there is a large gap between the two. He believes that "a man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own". When put with other things Birling has said in the play, we see that Priestley's views do not concur with Birling's and he has added statements to make the audience see Birling's views as false. ...read more.

Middle

This is a strange viewpoint for a "prominent member of the Brumley Women's Charity Organisation". With the lower classes however, we have Eva Smith, a young woman who is shown as the innocent victim of the thoughtless actions of the Birlings. This contrast is one of many in the play, set up to show one side to be better than the other. The Inspector against Birling, Eva Smith against Sybil Birling, Sheila and Eric at the end of the play against Arthur and Sybil, they all show examples of what Priestley viewed as the Right way against the Wrong way. The way the latter parties in each contrast I have mentioned act in a way such as to cause the audience to see them as in the wrong, making the other party correct. The other parties have views similar to Priestley, so Priestley was trying to get his message of community and socialism across to the audience through the actions of the characters. Another of Priestley's messages seems to be that there is hope for the future. On seeing how they have affected Eva Smith, both Sheila and Eric act remorsefully. The character of Sheila is fairly caring at the beginning of the play, but as events unravel, and Sheila realises her guilt, her character develops from a fairly na�ve young girlish character to a more mature, understanding character. ...read more.

Conclusion

The ending is well crafted, leaving an open ending to add to the dramatic effect, but looking at it differently, there is not really another way to have ended the play after that plot twist other than an open ending where it was without ruining the play itself. I think the majority of people who have seen this play would have liked to think of themselves as an Eric or a Sheila. The aims of Priestley when he wrote this play, I believe, were to make us think, to make us question our own characters and beliefs. He wasted to show us that we can change, and we can decide which views we side with. He wanted us to ask ourselves if we wanted to be a Sheila or a Sybil, an Eric or an Arthur. Or, were we in-between like Gerald. Priestley wanted the audience to learn from the mistakes of the Birlings. I think that Priestley wanted to make a difference; not a world changing difference, but a small difference in the way people think. Then, if you think of every person who coming out of the play gave some money to a beggar in the street, you would see that Priestley did make a difference. It would have changed people's views on society, however small those changes would be, and so Priestley achieved his aims in writing the play. ...read more.

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