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Why Does An Inspector Call?

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Why Does An Inspector Call? Priestley's main idea for writing this play was to alter people's views on society and daily life. He does this using a powerful and effective storyline to move people but still entertain the audience. Briefly, the story is that all the members of a rich mid-upper class family and the daughter's fianc� are involved in the build up of a young working class woman's suicide. In 1944 at the closing stages of the war , Britain had changed dramatically because that was the first time rich Britons had to have the same food and clothes as the working class as well as die together during the Blitz and actual fighting. Through out the play Priestley constantly quizzes the audience as to whether they want to revert to the old traditional values but punishing and harsh values of Pre World War 2. In 1912, 1/4 of the population owned over ? of Britain's wealth. ...read more.


He thinks he has got away with it so he goes back to his old ways and even finds it funny, to prove this, a few lines down he starts laughing at the reaction Eric gave when he was told about the girl. The sheer fact that they all actually did what they admitted to doesn't cross his mind. Before the inspector left he tried to give money to rectify the situation (he says "I'd give thousands - yes thousands...") but even his own son realises' he is giving it at the wrong time. As soon as Birling is about to finish his infamous speech about everyone for himself and no community, the inspector rings the doorbell. This is heavily ironic as the inspector portrays a totally different personality and mentality. JB Priestley times this very well for great effect. On page 26 of the text the inspector gives a spooky air about himself because he seems to know everything about Eva Smith and all her misencounters with the Birling family and Gerald. ...read more.


This shows that the inspector has been successful in generating friction in the family. I think that Priestley decided to write this play because he realised that the war was about to end and he had witnessed the appalling condition most of the countries peoples were in and he certainly didn't want to return to those times and wanted to get something positive and constructive out of the war other than death and destruction. Although the play is still applicable today because Britain still isn't a classless society although not to the extent of 1912 because things such as unemployment pay and the National Health Service are around to support people. In Birlings time there was genuine unemployment unlike today when people 'leech' off the system and forge illness and disability to get an easy life of no work. I believe there is still genuine unemployment but hardly any strikes over pay due to the minimum wage so I doubt this play would work if it was updated to today's era without major overhaul on the story and then it would probably lose its origins. ...read more.

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