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"Public men, Mr Birling, have their responsibilities as well as their privileges." Show how the Inspector attempts to teach this moral to the whole Birling family.

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"Public men, Mr Birling, have their responsibilities as well as their privileges." Show how the Inspector attempts to teach this moral to the whole Birling family. John Boynton Priestley was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, in the north of England. His father, Jonathon Priestley was a prosperous schoolmaster, his mother died when he was an infant. Priestley attended Bradford Grammar School, but instead of going onto a university scholarship he decided to leave education to pursue his passion for writing and literature. In 1910 Priestley got a job and worked as a junior clerk in a wool firm. It was then that Priestley began to write poetry for his own pleasure and contribute articles to local and London papers. He gained a good reputation as a journalist, but in 1914 at the age of 20 he was called to fight in the First World War. The years he spent on the frontline changed Priestley into the 'politically charged' writer he is famous for being. The traumatic experience Priestley must have had would have made him contemplate the state of society and the way the social system worked. While he was there fighting for his life, the people who send the soldiers off to fight would have been enjoying their lavish lifestyle with not a single fear for their life. This made Priestly wise up to how the British class system worked. Priestley believed it was wrong and unfair. An Inspector Calls was written in 1945, a week after the Second World War finished. This highlights the urgency he wanted his message to be heard. The play, explores the concept of time and how someone's actions can affect someone else's life in the long run. In this situation, it is the misuse of the Birling family's power. Priestley hoped the play would create unity amongst the public giving society the chance to look back on what had happened and learn from it. ...read more.


It is also clear to see that her character and views have been altered by the event and the impact of the Inspector. Gerald Croft, the only person who is not a direct relation to the Birling family, but is engaged to Sheila, also has a significant involvement with the death of Eva Smith. Gerald recognises the name Daisy Renton as soon as he hears the Inspector mention it. After at first trying to make Sheila leave the room, for reasons that become more apparent later, he tells the story of how he met Eva Smith, or as he new her Daisy Renton. He describes her as: - "Very pretty - soft brown hair and big dark eyes" Gerald claims to have rescued her from: - "Horrible old Meggarty" in the County Hotel and set her up in a friend's set of rooms, where she later inevitably, became his mistress. He is clearly upset by what has happened to her: - "She knew it couldn't last, She didn't blame me at all. I wish to God she had now. Perhaps I'd feel better about it." A question that must be asked however, is just how genuine is he? Gerald makes out as if he was merely trying to help Eva Smith and only later started a relationship with her, whether or not this is true is unknown. After the explanation, he makes excuses and leaves. Gerald's involvement with Eva Smith is perhaps the least significant, for Eva Smith anyway, perhaps more for Sheila and Gerald. What is a fact is that Gerald did attempt to help Eva Smith, unlike all the others, who were simply punishing her out of spite. Or maybe Gerald was simply using her as his mistress for when he desired and he was guilty as the others in terms of responsibility. Even if Gerald had not been responsible for the death of Eva Smith, his actions certainly have a consequence as he is engaged to Sheila, who now knows that Gerald was actively having another relationship while they were together. ...read more.


Priestley wants the Inspector to waken the audience; at the time the book was conceived World War II has scarred society. The atrocity of World War I had been relived again; classes were ripped apart, socialism was trying hard to reshape society. The metaphysical aspect of the Inspector is ever evident, no more so when he prophesises World War One: - "Fire, blood and anguish" This heightens the enigma surrounding the Inspector. In 1912, when the play was set, it was virtually only rich men who could vote. The poor people's opinions were virtually unheard as if they were invalid or irrelevant. This was apart of the social system that made Priestley very angry; it was as if the poor didn't really matter. Priestley was very much against this; he was somewhat a revolutionary and fought for equal rights and unity between all people. As it stood the rich would always stay rich and the poor would definitely stay poor, as they had no say in what happened to their country. The rich rarely considered this at all, and never thought something should be done about it. Priestley's play shows this as the Inspector makes everybody responsible for the girl's death, this makes them at least think about how their actions can effect others, and makes them realise that no-one should have to go through pain like that just because of their social standing. An Inspector Calls delivers an important message to society. It is a message of mutual responsibility and shows how everyone has a role to play in society, and that we should do as much as we can to help others, because we know what effects our actions will have on their lives. Priestley hoped this play would create unity-making people prevent something before it happened. The socialist message is delivered through the mouth of the Inspector, who takes on the role of teacher to the Birling family. He hopes to teach them moral values and respect for everyone, no matter how poor. Nicola Simms Mr Dale 11W GCSE English Literature C20th Drama coursework An Inspector Calls by J.B Priestley ...read more.

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