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What is Priestley's main aim in 'An inspector calls'? how successfully 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'? how successfully does he achieve it? J.B Priestley wrote an Inspector Calls in 1945 at the end of the Second World War. He set his play in 1912 before the Titanic sank. As the Second World War was ending, many things began to change. The upper and working classes had been mixed due to the War Effort. People became dressed alike and worked in the same places. Priestley had served in the First World War and was in a German gas attack. By the end of the First World War he was writing and became a voice heard all over the nation on the radio, warning people about the changes and being in a better world. His socialist philosophies were also projected in his plays. "We are members of one body." Priestley's stage directions are very detailed. They help to show the audience that the Burling's are not a close family who can talk to each other about their problems. The stage reveals the image of rich family, but it must not be 'cosy' or homely. The lighting is to be a pink, intimate colour to begin with but when the inspector arrives it is meant to be brighter and harsher. ...read more.

Middle

She has learned a lesson from this experience, unlike her father who refuses to take any responsibility in it at all. Gerald has also got a part to play: "...chain of events..." leading up to Eva Smith's suicide. He only knows Eva as Daisy Renton - : "Woman of the town." He is from an aristocratic family who would not think very well of him if they knew about his affair. We get the impression that he does genuinely feel pity and sympathy for Daisy/Eva when he realises that she does not belong at the Palace Bar Hotel: "...if she didn't want anymore of that sort of thing, she had better let me take her out of there." However, I am not entirely sure that he is honest. The facts suggest that he lied to Sheila about the affair, he lied to Daisy in a sense that he did not: "...feel for her the way she felt for me..." and she lied to him about her name. I am not sure whether he is trustworthy - nor completely responsible, except for his own happiness. Mrs Birling's image is revealed as a: "...rather cold woman and her husband's social superior." She pretends to have no knowledge of reality and other people's lives; this is shown when she says: "...a girl of that sort..." ...read more.

Conclusion

The inspector is a reminder that if we are all a little bit more compassionate then we might have a better world. We can't be responsible for each other but we can be compassionate. Although as the character, the inspector is not significant as such; he is significant as a symbol. A symbol of change and compassion. Priestley's main aim in: "An Inspector Calls" are to write an entertaining play that will keep the audience on the edge of its seat. As a writer, his play has to be appealing in order to make his money however; he also had a social message to put across. As he was a political man he was concerned with social equality. Priestley's play also has a political message telling people about change. I consider the play to be successful in its intentions because it conveys a message to people that we need to change - even in today's society. It is not only entertaining and keeps me in suspense to know what will happen to the Birling's at the end of the play and whether or not they will catch the inspector; but it also in it's own way tells us that we should try to be more compassionate people. I think Priestley has been successful in this play and brought out possibly the true meaning of life and people. ?? ?? ?? ?? Kiah Peters C:\Documents and Settings\Kiah P\My Documents\school work\english\Priestley Final Copy.doc ...read more.

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