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What message do you think that Priestley is trying to give in 'An Inspector calls,' and what is the role of the Inspector?

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What message do you think that Priestley is trying to give in 'An Inspector calls,' and what is the role of the Inspector? "But I accept no blame for it all." Although this may sound like a statement from someone that is being questioned in the docks of court, this quote is actually from the both the Birling's (Mr and Mrs) in An Inspector Calls when they are asked questions by Inspector Goole. They are demonstrating here that because they are of the richer class, they cannot accept any responsibility for any problems in society, within the city. Of course, J.B. Priestley, the writer, is totally against this kind of thinking. The writer believes in collective responsibility between people, and this is demonstrated when the Inspector, who portrays the morals in this play, says: "We don't live alone, we are members of one body." The first scene of An Inspector Calls opening on a dining room set, with appropriate furniture and without much action. What we actually get is a far cry from our naturalistic expectations. The author's expressionism (A movement in the arts during the early part of the 20th century that emphasised a biased expression of the artist's inner experiences) presents a view of the world as we know it from a stereotypical viewpoint, and this is exactly what has been interpreted into the staging of An Inspector Calls. The scenery immediately leads the viewer into a series of questions - why is there a tiny, grotesquely angled house, raised up on stilts? What is the purpose of the relative isolation of the house? Its obvious warmth and luxury in comparison to the dark, miserable, steaming street below makes us think that this is a superior house who like their privacy. This isolation of the Birlings' house from the house in the background brings two ideas into play. Firstly, to continue the Birlings' idea that their actions have no effect on anyone else and their privacy is important. ...read more.


- he has compassion for those who are willing to accept their responsibility, but nothing so simple as forgiveness. After all, "the girl's [still] dead though." The message in this is that, though they feel compassion and guilt towards the death of Eva Smith, it will still not bring her back to life, and therefore, they will have to take lessons from what they have done, and be sure not to commit them in future. Throughout the whole play, Birling deems himself as all-knowing, and makes assumptions such as the Titanic is "unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable." Of course we know that the Titanic did sink, and therefore, his predictions did not come true. However, he thinks that just because he said it, people should take his word for it, as he is of the higher social class. He also subtly suggests that as he is of the social class, he should be deemed to be some sort of God, so it were. Priestly is trying to portray the point that the upper classes were very ignorant and smarmy and they lived in their own perfect world. The actual audience were the upper class and the survivors from the World Wars Mr Birling's first priority is to make money. "It's my duty to keep the labour costs down" He does this because he is trying not to give too much money away, but instead, trying to keep the bulk of it for himself Mr Birling is a wealthy, pompous man who loves to show off his good fortune to other members of the community who he is trying to impress. You could say he was ostentatious. He is a prosperous owner of his factory, Birling and Company. "...a self-made man..." He started his business from nothing and worked his way up, until he was a wealthy man. This explains to us that he made himself what he is today through hard work. ...read more.


He believed that we should all help each other which is the total opposite from what the Birlings believed. He uses the inspector to symbolise the conscience of the nation and through him challenges each of the characters who represent a part of society. He shows that change is more likely to come through the young (Sheila and Eric) rather than through the older generation (Mr & Mrs Birling) or the upper classes symbolised by Gerald Croft. I think Priestly is trying to say that some people will never change especially the older generation. Throughout the play priestly uses dramatic devices to maintain the audiences interests, such as who was the Inspector, priestly makes the audience think all through the play that, who exactly is the Inspector, priestly makes the Inspector a "mysterious Inspector" (introduction). Other dramatic devices which are used is, the photo, is it the same, how is everything linked in the "chain of events" and the setting of the play which is all in a dining room with rosy lighting (romantic and happy atmosphere) but changes as the Inspector steps in ("mysterious Inspector") These are a number of dramatic devices that Priestley uses to maintain the audience's interest. These things will definitely happen and the audience knows it. This is dramatic irony. Priestly is trying to say that upper-class people are too busy making money and they don't like to think something that could happen. The role of the inspector though must be stressed, and that if he weren't there, none of the plot would have unravelled. He used his influence to stamp his authority, and showed that even though none of the Birling's had committed a crime, they were all made to feel guilty because of the misuse of their power in society, and for not looking after the lower-class people, which was their responsibility. "Public men, Mr Birling, have responsibilities as well as privileges." This message is still relevant to a 21st century audience because society in the western world is mainly capitalist and often, people act as individuals and do not take responsibility for others. Abbas Tejani ...read more.

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