• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why is the play “An Inspector Calls” still a popular play today?

Extracts from this document...


Why is the play "An Inspector Calls" still a popular play today? J.B. Priestly's 1945 play "An Inspector calls" is still a success today. A new production of it has opened in the West-end, a sure-sign of its popularity and the play's success rate. Why is it still doing so well? A main theme of the play centres on the idea of different classes in society, something that has been evident to us all throughout history, and is therefore a very accessible theme for many people. This important theme is highlighted right at the beginning of the play when it is clear that Gerald Croft's parents don't entirely approve of his choice to marry Sheila Birling: "I have an idea that your mother - while she doesn't object to my girl - feels you might have done better for yourself socially" When Gerald's parents are brought up in conversation, also at the beginning, we hear the probable excuse for their absence: "It's a pity Sir George croft and Lady Croft can't be with us, but they're abroad and so it can't be helped" The difference in class between the Crofts and the Birlings can even be observed in the way Gerald speaks compared to how Mr. Birling speaks. Gerald seems to speak in a more upper-class way than Birling. For instance Gerald says things like "Oh - I say" and "Hear, hear!" ...read more.


We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other..." "... if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish" This is a dramatic contrast, and the second speech in particular - although powerful in itself - is emphasized greatly by Birling's speech that he had previously made. The inspector's point of view summarizes the play in that everybody's lives are interconnected in some way - the whole family has an individual link to the suicide of the girl. Priestly makes it clear that the inspector's speech is the speech he wants to have impact on us as opposed to Birling's earlier speech in a number of ways. For example: the inspector's speech is emphasized greatly because of the conflicting viewpoints and at the beginning of the play, Birling also states that: "The Germans don't want war. Nobody wants war." He also marvels at the 'unsinkable' Titanic. These two points that he mentions are ironic because History proved him wrong and war did break out and the Titanic did sink. I think Priestly put these points in - noticeably before his conflicting speech - to deter the audience from thinking that his judgement and viewpoints were correct or reasonable, and so the audience listens and understands the conflicting speech he makes but does not agree with it because he had already been wrong about his opinions of war and the Titanic. ...read more.


I have looked at many methods Priestly used to write his play that all give justice to its high success rate today, but there is one more factor that clearly makes this play a very dramatic and powerful piece of work: the ending. Who is the inspector? Judging from the issues Priestly had raised in the play, personally I think that the inspector, the other characters and indeed the whole play is a microcosm of the way Priestly sees the world. The 'inspector' visited the family and told them of the damage they had done, but then they proved he did not really exist, it was like a warning of their potential to do damage. Then the damage does actually happen- a suicide, self-destruction, and because the characters lives were all interconnected they not only did damage to the woman but damage to themselves. I think that Priestly's point is to warn of the terrible, self-destruction the human race may well do through war. A big clue to this is the fact he wrote the play at the end of the second world war - and was most probably influenced by the effects of war, but set it just before the beginning of the first world war. The inspector's warning to the family is Priestly's warning to the world. "We are all responsible for each other and if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish" ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE J.B. Priestley section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE J.B. Priestley essays

  1. What do Mr Birling and Sheila show us about the historical context of “An ...

    He's living in his own protective world and doesn't realise what's really going on. Mr Birling shows that the upper classes gets on very well with the police. When Mr Birling and the inspector are talking about the chief inspector Mr Birling announces to Inspector Goole that, " perhaps I

  2. The message of an inspector calls is as relevant today as it was first ...

    Mrs Birling judges Daisy harshly just because of the fact that she has had a disadvantaged upbringing. Mrs Birling seems to think that everyone should be like her but the truth is people don't get the same life chances as her.

  1. The Inspector is ‘an embodiment of a collective conscience’. How real is the character ...

    (Page 23) "It was my own fault" (Page 17) "If I could help her now I would..." This all implies that naturally Sheila Birling's conscience is always awake. This could also show Sheila's submission to the Inspector. Eric Birling is a shame to the Birling family; his outspoken and rebellious behavior isn't an example of typical Birling etiquette.

  2. Examine How Priestley Uses a Variety of Dramatic Devices To Highlight the Theme of ...

    "Inspector Goole" is there to expose each one of the family. Priestley intended the inspector to appear to be intimidating. "He wasn't a big man but he creates at once an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness". Omniscient and omnipotent the mysterious Inspector Goole persuades the Birling's to confess to their "crimes".

  1. "An Inspector Calls" - issues raised in the play concerning the social structure ...

    adds to the feeling that you really are just watching an evening in a 1912's house unfold before your eyes without the normal 'special-effects', lighting and scene changes that you might normally get on stage or on screen, giving this play a slightly unique quality.

  2. Why do you think that An Inspector Calls still remains popular today? An Inspector ...

    impressions of them just like Sybil did when Eva came to her committee for help. We all have our Arthur Birling side when we think that we know more than we actually do. Throughout the play, we do not hear an awful lot about Eva and her Personality, other than

  1. How does the film enhance the original Script of “An Inspector Calls”?

    is nothing as she is unaware of Eric being an alcoholic or she does not want to be aware. The film's props and sounds rapidly speed up the long-winded process of explaining the situation in text. The film makes good use of the available equipment and in general it's 'Mise en sc�ne' is brilliant.

  2. J.B Preistly manages to include quite a lot of history about England. The play ...

    This is an example of dramatic irony (something the audience understands, but the character does not). Another thing that relates to the time period in the play is the rights of workers, such as Eva Smith. It shows that in 1912 they were still not taken seriously by employers.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work