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"We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other." What is Priestley's main aim in An Inspector Calls and how well does he achieve it?

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Introduction

"We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other." What is Priestley's main aim in An Inspector Calls and how well does he achieve it? Priestley's main aim in An Inspector Calls is to get across his socialist view that "we are all responsible for each other." Through the revelation of the plot and the development of the characters he manages to say that we may not play a big part in ones' life, but a simple passing by comment to the person can affect them both mentally and emotionally. Even if the impact is not so great at first, many people repeatedly commenting can influence them to do something, possibly out of control. In the play Priestley represents the situation through Eva Smith and the Birling Family. He sets the play in 1912 yet the script was written in 1945, this creates ironic tension within the beginning of the play. The reader may feel a sense of unease when references are made about war. Birling makes a comment that "the world's developing so fast that it'll make war impossible," but of course there was to be a World War only 2 years later in the play. ...read more.

Middle

The Inspector's speech at the end recalls the actions of each individual, which brought Eva to her death. By confronting each character the intention is to inflict guilt, the abrupt parting of the Inspector leaves the characters in confusion and the only person to answer their questions now are themselves. Here we realise their true characters and it seems to be only the young ones who take some blame. Sheila has been affected the most taking full responsibility, Eric although "squiffy" realises that "Sheila's right," so without her, Eric would not have realised his involvement which is why she is a vital influence to the others. Gerald is the only one who was willing to help her, he gave her a home and food. But was this really in order to help, or for him to have some mistress on the side? Although, Gerald's actions probably have the least contribution to Eva's death, even if he was only using her as a mistress. But now the truth is out what will the consequences be with Sheila? It makes the audience think. Mr and Mrs Birling, the stubborn couple, feel no sympathy for the girl. ...read more.

Conclusion

The way he uses Sheila steers the audience in the right direction to the right conclusion. Goole makes dramatic and controversial comments with graphic observations, "the girl killed herself - and died a horrible death. But each of you helped to kill her." "Two hours ago a young woman died...Burnt her inside, of course." Such detail emphasises his point and sets a mood of curiosity and mystery, just like the Inspectors character. In conclusion Priestley has certainly made me think about my actions, therefore he has achieved his aim successfully. The point he has made is that we are all equal and all deserve the same respect we give our peers and loved ones. Eva Smith is largely symbolic, she didn't have much in her life, she was underpaid, undermined and was treated with little respect which lead her to her death. This was all due to abuse of power, wealth and status. I don't think any one person is to blame, it is more the fault of society, the Birling's were only worried about maintaining their reputation after the incident. Priestley created suspense, disgust and sympathetic moments in the play which brought upon guilt. "If men will not learn...they will be taught in fire and blood and anguish." "Remember that." Mona Bamrah/10N GCSE English ...read more.

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