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What is Preistley’s main aim in An Inspector Calls? How successfully does he achieve it?

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Introduction

What is Preistley's main aim in An Inspector Calls? How successfully does he achieve it? In this play a lot of immoral acts are committed by all four of the Birlings and by Gerald. I propose to look in detail at the moral issues the play raises, to discuss the effect of drama in the play, and the faint optimism displayed by the younger generation at the end of the performance. The moral meaning is summed up by a passage spoken by the Inspector's on page 56: 'We do not live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other.' This talks about the community and how every member of society must help one another. This is in contrast to what Mr Birling says very early on in the play: 'a man has to make his own way', page 9. This is the opposite of what the Inspector later says about community and how it is not one man's job to get through life. Mr Birling was, perhaps, the least guilty of the Birlings, excluding Gerald. He discharged Eva for asking for a small raise, from twenty-two shillings and six pence to twenty-five shillings a week. He claims that this is entirely just, as it is 'my job to keep labour costs down', which it is; this is why I believe he is the least guilty. ...read more.

Middle

Later, Gerald appears to be indifferent to the death of Eva especially after the inspector has left and he believes it was all a hoax. Indifference is also shown to the fact that he sinned. Mrs Birling denied Eva benefits from a charity of which she was the chairman. This was for several reasons, but the main one was the fact that Eva fabricated a name when it was her turn to be interviewed by the charity's committee. Her name of choice was Mrs Birling, this was because it was Eric who had made her pregnant, and the real Mrs Birling obviously did not know this fact, and seemed to think that Eva was personally insulting her. Eva therefore received no benefits. This was a highly immoral act, as the members of the committee are not meant to be prejudiced towards any appeal. Mrs Birling thought that what she did was acceptable because Eva had lied. However, it was in fact not a lie as it was Eric's child, also a Mr Birling, and he did propose to marry her but she had refused, as she knew it would not work. Eric was in a bar one night and he got talking to Eva, he also got drunk. He then walked Eva home and forced himself upon her, page 52: 'Well, I was in that state when a chap easily turns nasty'. ...read more.

Conclusion

They are drawn in to the rights and wrongs of the characters' actions, and they pass judgement upon Gerald and Eric's behaviour, Mrs Birling's snobbery, Mr Birling's self righteousness. The audience listens to the moral of the story, that we are individuals in a society, who should look after each other, and not be merely out for what we can get. The final few words of the play are unexpected. We have had the feeling that the Inspector is not all he seems, but now that the real police (presumably) have telephoned, things become clearer. I wanted to see a continuation of the play, with real events, real police, and see how much the characters changed when faced with the information again. No doubt Sheila and Eric would approach the situation differently, they seem to have learned a lesson from events. On page 70, Sheila says: ' Everything we said had happened really had happened. If it didn't end tragically, then that's lucky for us. But it might have done.' and on page 71: 'You're pretending everything's just as it was before'. She and Eric have moved on from their original viewpoints, and this gives us hope for the future, it is to be hoped that they would not behave so badly again in their future relationships with people. Unfortunately, we are unable to know the real ending. ?? ?? ?? ?? Tim Godfrey 10C ...read more.

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