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Why has the play 'An Inspector Calls' remained popular for so long?

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Introduction

Ellie Whidden English Essay 'An inspector Calls' Why has the play 'An Inspector Calls' remained popular for so long? J.B.Priestley 'An Inspector Calls' is a play set in 1912 in the Birling's family dining room. It was written in 1945 and set in Brumley. It features a typical affluent upper class family who own a well run business. The play starts with a small family celebration in which the daughter, Sheila Birling, is getting engaged to Gerald (a business man of the same class). The head of the family, a very prominent opinionated man, makes several toasts to the couple and lectures them about his knowledge of the world. Everything is going cosily until an unexpected visitor turns up on the Birling family's doorstep. It's a very sleek, mysterious inspector. The Inspector brings news of a young girl's suicide. The Birling Family and Gerald first deny all connections with the suicide until the inspector rigorously questions each one of them and their shameful secrets are revealed. One of the reasons why J.B.Priestley's 'An Inspector Calls' has remained popular is because there is some hope for the younger generation. During most of the play the atmosphere is depressing, drab and sad. The play is based on the inspector accusing each member of helping with the suicide of the young girl. The family all concentrate on how it's not their fault. ...read more.

Middle

This is shown when the inspector questions Mrs Burling about Eva Smith. When Eva Smith falls pregnant Eric, the father also son to Mrs Burling, realises money is needed and steals some from his father. Mrs Burling states, not knowing Eric has done this, that the decent thing the father should do is marry her, therefore giving her money. Mr Burling also thinks highly of money as he tries to pay the minimum wages to his factory workers therefore earning himself more. At the beginning of act one he talks about how it would be a good idea if his company and Gerald's father's should combined. This idea of his is truly based on how much money he can earn himself. Mrs Burling also seems to crave money, but tries to give you the impression that she is innocent. She tries to shush Mr Burling when he brings this up at the dining table and later suggests that they should talk in private. 'Now Arthur, I don't think you should talk business just quite now.' In 'An Inspector Calls' it is noticeable that everything that J.B.Priestley either features or makes fun of happens today. Today there is prostitution, a big blame society and class structures. Money also plays a big part in the world today. You often see lots of people selling big issues. When a man of middle class walks past someone like this the initial reaction is 'Why are they there, what have they done to make themselves so low.' ...read more.

Conclusion

The type of humour J.B.Priestley uses is little amounts and sparingly. It breaks up the serious ideas in the play and allows the audience to digest the drama easily. The humour mostly features in the part played by the Inspector. I think this is because the audience envisage the inspector as quite a stern man. Like the storyline, Priestly has done this to allow the audience to digest him easily. The inspector says lines like 'We didn't think you meant Buckingham Palace' and 'I don't play golf, it's a shame.' Finally J.B.Priestley's 'An Inspector calls', I think, tries to convey one important message to it's audience; Helping others is the key to success. The play shows a very Christian message of how we need to make today's society better and to prove Margaret Thatcher's saying wrong, and perhaps the views of Mr Burling, 'that there is no such thing as society.' 'An Inspector Calls' is a play which reaches out through the inspector to its audience. The inspector, a very careful but weighty man, shows us that there isn't a need in this world for jealously, shameful secrets or class structures. Through interrogating the rest of the characters he unveils each of their problems and shows us how it is wrong. 'An Inspector Calls' has the ability to engross its audience and to educate them at the same time. It shows us that the lessons we learn from watching and reading this play may make us want to try and rebuild society today. ...read more.

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