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What message do you think Priestley wanted to convey to his audience when he wrote 'An Inspector Calls'? Consider to what extent he was successful and how he achieved his aim.

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Introduction

What message do you think Priestley wanted to convey to his audience when he wrote 'An Inspector Calls'? Consider to what extent he was successful and how he achieved his aim. 'An Inspector Calls' is a play written in 1945 but set in 1912, which was before World War One, the Great Depression and World War Two. J.B. Priestley, an idealistic socialist, wrote the play trying to warn his audience of the problems of society as it was. The play set in Brumley, England was written at a time when communities were trying to rebuild themselves after World War Two and society was still divided into clear-cut classes. The story focuses on the Birlings celebrating an engagement when an Inspector calls. The Birlings are able to have these values because they have money, own a business and are prominent members of the higher class of society. This family like others at the time were capitalists, they believed that a person was worth the money they owned, they only earned money for themselves and their families. Priestley did not agree with this way of living, he felt that the community should be reformed to live by socialist views, which were that people should all be equal and work towards the good of the community. ...read more.

Middle

At this early point in the play the audience have probably already begun to feel this hatred because of Birling's snobbish and blatantly incorrect opening speeches. Although Birling was not to know what he was predicting for the future would turn out to be wrong, Priestley made him sound ignorant through the technique of dramatic irony by using his knowledge of the past to make the audience resent Birling. The audience knew what really happened; making what Birling said sound stupid, due to it being so wrong, "The Germans don't want war." (p6) The play was set before the First World War, but was being viewed after it. This made Birling incorrect about the war, which happened five years after setting of the play, he was also incorrect about the "unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable" Titanic, which we all know was struck by an iceberg and sank. Also Birling does not repent about Eva's death, therefore Priestly was in the process of turning the audience against Birling, but more importantly turning them against capitalists. Other capitalists that would have been difficult to convince to change their ways would have been the other older members of the family. Gerald, with older members of the family, did not repent at the end of the play, but rejoiced when receiving the news that Eva had apparently not died. ...read more.

Conclusion

which could plant the idea of the Inspector being a ghoul due to the very similar spelling. Priestley wrote it like this to begin ideas in the minds of audiences, only to cover up his need for a way to convey his point views. Priestley had wanted to use this play to convey his want of a socialist society, and used the Inspector as his voice throughout. The Inspector says, "We don't live alone. We are members of one body - We are responsible for each other." (p56) Priestley had been trying to express all the way throughout the play, this is the closest to saying that he wanted the community to change towards socialism. I believe that he conveyed a very good argument for changing lifestyles, and he supported it with his plot, but it is not very likely that he would have changed anybody in their views. The twists in the plot and unsuspected ending were very though provoking, Priestley wrote these very well and that only made his argument more convincing to the audience. Throughout history there has always been different classes, because if people work harder than others, surely they should be rewarded with more. Over the years, life has come closer to how Priestley had wanted it, there are still classes, and everybody is not equal, but the divides are faint and hardly every recognised in polite society. Words ~ 1684 Melissa Quazi English 14/05/02 'An Inspector Calls' J.B. Priestley ...read more.

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