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'We are all responsible for eachother.' What aspects of responsibility are apparent in the Short play 'An inspector Calls' by J.B.Priestly?

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Introduction

AN INSPECTOR CALLS q.'We are all responsible for eachother.' What aspects of responsibility are apparent in the Short play 'An inspector Calls' by J.B.Priestly? This short statement made by the inspector after his primary investigation has taken place is one of the main underlying themes throughout this short play. Perhaps because of agendas that the author J.B.Priestly wants to address.English author J.B. Priestley (1894-1984) clearly saw this 20th-century conundrum when he observed that "ours is an age of deepening inner despair and of appalling catastrophes, an age when society says one thing and then does something entirely different . . . Western man is schizophrenic." Thus, he is confused that the societys that we live in are 'schizophrenic.' Most people have two sides to them, one that believes they are good and just and the other true side which is selfish and cruel to others. How indeed are we an advanced and civilised society when we treat others like we do. This is perhaps why he chose this as his main theme for his play. It becomes apparent as the play progresses and we discover that everything the characters do or have done, no matter how small or insignificant it seems at the time ends up having an effect on others. On this occasion, whether by chance or not they happen to affect the same person. ...read more.

Middle

Sheila knows that this is her future, and the men aren't even attempting to be subtle about the fact that the familes' relationships are as important as hers. This is an exaple of Sheila's responsibility to her family. They feel they must protect eachother. Another example is when Gerald is detailing his affair Mrs.B feels the responsibility to protect Sheila. 'It would be much better if Sheila didn't listen to this story at all.' (act2 p.34) The main theme of the play is the Lack of responsibility shown to the young girl Eva Smith/Daisy Renton. The main story of the play is Inspector Goole (ghoul?) who is representing the perfect and just individual that is not in keeping with the character of a police inspector of the time, interrogating the Birling Family about their involvement with Eva Smith's suicide. He does this by making them admit what they have done so as to not be responsible to her. He does this by slowly feeding them information and letting them fill in gaps. In total the Birling family as a whole are responsible for her downward spiral that ends up with her taking her own life and the life of her unborn child. Over a period of time all of them are cruel and unfair to her in a variety of ways, some more cruelly than others but with just as much affect. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is an example of an immature woman who cannot get past her own existance to realise the importance of helping someone else. Perhaps even worse still is when she denies that she was wrong for refusing her aid, saying it was the 'father's fault.' Turning away a pregnant woman in her situation is unforgivable in any situation, especially when it's for such weak reasons as a title. The entire family was is some part to blame for Eva Smith's suicide, but none save Sheila were able to admit wrong doing. Despite the 'Ghoul' inspector visiting who was trying to 'save their souls' and change them as people by admitting their lack of responsibilities none had changed as the real inspector was due to arrive. Perhaps another way for Priestly to demonstrate the thoughts and feelings of those at the time. Eva Smith relied on the responsibilities of the Birlings. All failed her. Another theme of responsibility in this play is that of the Inspector. He feels it neccesary to be responsible for uncovering the truth of why Eva Smith commits suicide. He feels it neccesary to complete his work justly and thoroughly, but most of all, to find the truth properly. Not bending his morales to the whims of a class-filled society. 'It's my duty to ask questions.' This quote sums up what the inspector represents in the play. And also refers to my main question of morales and responsibility in this play. Alex Voake 11.5 ...read more.

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