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What is Priestley's main aim in ' An Inspector Calls' and how successfully does he achieve it?

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An inspector calls What is Priestley main aim in ' An Inspector Calls' and how successfully does he achieve it? J.b. Priestley wrote 'An inspector calls' in 1943 on a play based in 1912. He was born in Bradford Yorkshire on 13th sept 1894 and died in 1984. He left school at sixteen because he wanted to write and takes a job with a firm of wool merchants. Priestley used his knowledge in working in the local wool to present Eva Smith and the working class people His father's friends were mainly socialist and he joined in with their political arguments. He used his socialist views in the play. He joined the army in 1914 and uses his knowledge he had in the war to portray the character of Mr Birling. Priestley's aim is to educate the audience through the characters and their individual responsibility towards other people. Arthur Birling is the kind of character who is concerned with money. 'A hard-headed business man', he believes that society is as it should be. The rich stay rich, the poor stay poor and there is a large gap between the two. ...read more.


Where Birling's predictions are wrong, the Inspector predicts that if people don't learn their responsibilities, they will be taught in 'fire and blood and anguish'. This prediction refers to World War 1. The lessons of World War I weren't learnt so the same mistakes were made and another war started. Though Priestly was unaware of it when the play was written, sixty years on the same mistakes have caused war after war. Another contrast to Birling is that while Birling seemingly knows nothing of his family's affairs, Sheila says of the Inspector 'We hardly ever told him anything he didn't know'. The play was set in 1912, and being set at this time, there was not only the opportunity for predictions, but also for a more drastic look at the relationship between the rich and the poor. Mrs Birling was a character that would seem to think that all members of the lower classes are beneath her and her family. She say to Birling 'Arthur, you're not supposed to say such things,' when he compliments the cook who was member of the lower class. ...read more.


The character of Inspector Goole is mysterious. He is mysterious because of his character, the audience never finds out who this Inspector is. There are many possibilities, he could be the ghost of Eva Smith avenging her death, he could be their conscience, and he could be anybody or anything. Priestley left the character as a mystery so as to have a larger impact on the audience, making them think more about the play, and helping them think more about the messages the play brings. Through the Inspector, the audiences are educated in their social understandings and behavior. The aims of Priestley when he wrote this play, I believe were to make us think, to make us question our own characters and beliefs. He wanted to show us that we can change, and we can decide which views we go with. He wanted us to ask ourselves if we wanted to be a Sheila or a Mrs Birling, an Eric or an Arthur. Priestley wanted the audience to learn from the mistakes of the Birlings. I think that Priestley wanted to make a difference in the way people think. It would have changed people's views on society, and so Priestley achieved his aims in writing the play. ...read more.

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