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The Main Themes in ‘An Inspector Calls’

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The Main Themes in 'An Inspector Calls' The play 'An Inspector Calls' is written by J.B.Priestley. The play is set in 1912. To understand the play fully, the reader/viewer of the play has to understand its historical context. 1912 was the year that the titanic set sail, the year that the Suffragette movement started campaigning for women's rights in society. It was also the year that Captain Scott failed to reach the South Pole. 1912 was also the year in which the trade unions started to gain power and that there were huge technological advances like the electric lighting within homes and the cinema started its career. The life expectancy then was about 46 years old compared to about 85 now. Within the play there are many themes, some are very obvious, some are more hidden within the text. The playwright conveys these themes through the way each character acts and what each character says and to whom in what manner. The main theme is to do with responsibility for your actions, but there are many others such as the class system, love, lies, pride, women, sex and family, but these are only the main ones, there may some more obscure ones within this text that I have not picked up. ...read more.


If you don't come down sharply on some of these people, they'd soon be asking for the earth. He refers to her and her fellow workers as 'some of these people' as if they were just cheap labour, not real people like him and his family. This reflects Mr Birlings Victorian morals which he describes as part of one of his speeches: 'a man has to make his own way, has to look after himself - and his family too, of course, when he has one - and so long as he does he won't come to much harm. But the way some of these cranks talk and write now, you'd think everybody has to look after everybody else, as if we're all mixed up together like bees in a hive - community and all that nonsense'. This shows his values very clearly and how he bleives its every man for himself, this shows how he thinks business is firs then family comes in as an afterthought. Another main theme was Pride. The play shows that pride is only what people make and that pride is rooted only in shallow soil that can easily be upturned. People's pride, as show by Mr Birling, can take the better of them and make it all a fantasy, a life that they want to life the pride they want to have, not what they actually have. ...read more.


He thought this was just plain rude and shouldn't be and wasn't accepted then. Mr Birling also wants to climb the social ladder through the marriage of his daughter since the mother of his daughters fianc�e, Lady Croft, is already part of the aristocracy and since he thinks that his service as a magistrate and the Lord Mayor means that he deserves it, and his daughters marriage into aristocracy just seals it all off. Overall throughout this essay I have found out that the main theme within the play is responsibility, but that there are many underlying themes, such as generation gap, lies pride, sex, classes, the view of women, which I have tried to explore but I am certain that there are other themes within the play which I have either just overlooked or just missed out. This, as any other book, play or text has meanings which can be interpreted as many different things. I have interpreted them in one way but others might interpret them differently, it is all to do with where you come from, whether you look at the background of the reader, the way he writes, how this might be related to his childhood or previous experiences. However, in this essay, I have not explore the play to that depth, only what was written within the text of the play. ...read more.

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