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What was J.BPriestley's Intention in Writing 'An Inspector Calls', and How Has His Intention Been Realised?

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Introduction

What was J.B Priestley's Intention in Writing 'An Inspector Calls', and How Has His Intention Been Realised? J.B. Priestley's intention in writing 'An Inspector Calls' was to make sure that Britain did not repeat the social mistakes of it's past. J.B. Priestley had lived through both the World Wars, and had seen the class barriers eroded with the passing of each one. Throughout his life, he had been an active socialist, making his message clear through his writings and speeches. He was a patriotic man, and his many plays reflect the love of his homeland, as much as they do his social and political ideas. Both of these parts of his personality were shown in the weekly talks he made on BBC Radio during the Second World War. The First World War resulted in the start social change and the start of the breakdown of the barriers between the classes. In 1926, the General Strike marked a new era of workers rights, showing what the sheer numbers of workers all over Britain could do. In 1930, the great depression had done more to level off the social boundaries as old, rich families' savings were suddenly worth nothing. The Government at the end of the Great War had promised "A country fit for heroes" to encompass the needs of returning soldiers looking for work and housing. ...read more.

Middle

Mrs Birling is much like her husband; she also refuses to change her views regarding people of the lower classes. She is so steadfast in her views that she goes so far as to ask for her son to be punished so that she can escape the blame. The younger members of the group, Sheila especially, learn that they must change the way of thinking that led Eva Smith to her death. Although Sheila committed one of the lesser acts that contributed towards Eva Smith's death, she feels the most guilty for her actions, and says she will be less selfish in the future. Eric feels equally guilty, although his actions were more serious, and it is evident that he will never forget his actions. Gerald feels more sad than guilty about his actions, because he truly loved Daisy Renton, but he does not actually mention that he will not do that kind of thing again, however by his action of "going out to be alone for a while" and the regretful way in which he speaks, it seems unlikely that he will act with that kind of conduct again. It is the Inspector who is the main vehicle for J.B Priestley's ideas in the play - He makes a large amount of moralistic comments on the actions of the other characters, or about the social circumstances that led Eva Smith to her death. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is what the plot of the play shows. Mr Birling, Sheila and Mrs Birling, help Eva Smith to suicide through actions that at the time seemed innocent or justified to them. The "fire and blood and anguish" J.B Priestley refers to are the First and Second World Wars. In 1945, when 'An Inspector Calls' was first shown, his audiences would obviously remember the Blitz, and some of them may have fought in one or both of the wars. They would not want a repeat of the past. However the "fire and blood and anguish" taught the soldiers fighting together a vital lesson - they were all equal. They could all be killed. The stage directions in the play also show some aspects of J.B Priestley's personal views. The beginning stage directions, when describing the lighting say that it should be "warm and personal", and when the Inspector arrives, the lighting should be "hard and bright". "The warm and personal" light shows that the family are feeling safe, secure in their views and beliefs, as is emphasised by Mr Birling's speech near the beginning of the play. The lighting gets "harder and brighter" when the Inspector arrives, possibly signifying that the characters are being, or will be, exposed as having contributed to the death of Eva Smith. J.B. Priestley wrote 'An Inspector Calls' with the intention of provoking people into realising that change must come, and that people are all equal, and deserve to be treated as such. Thomas Burton 10l ...read more.

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