• 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...

Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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

    She felt she couldn't go on any longer." Priestley sets the scene at the start of the play by trying to make the characters look a nice warm welcoming play. The inspector in some ways was sly and quite resourceful. "(showing annoyance) Any particular reason why I shouldn't see this girl's photograph, Inspector?" "(coolly, looking at him hard)

  2. 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

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

    demanding character, he is very good in the way that he does not give too much away about himself. One thing that the inspector did not let the Birling family forget is the way in which that Eva Smith died.

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

    The way the manager dealt with Eva was unfair. Although Sheila seems to be a horrid selfish person she was the only one who realises what she has done is wrong. She also tries to convince her family that they were in the wrong too.

  1. How does J B Priestley deliver his moral message in “An Inspector Calls”?

    "...A man has to make his own way - has to look after himself - and his family too, of course, when he has one - and so long as he does that he won't come to much harm. But the way some of these cranks talk and write now,

  2. Would You Agree That the Play Is One Big Metaphor?

    A wealthy man like Birling wouldn't have missed a few shillings, but he was more determined to look after his own interests. All the workers had gone on strike for nearly a week but soon returned for the same wage, but Mr.

  1. An Inspector Calls by J.B Priestly was first performed in 1946. It is still ...

    While the Inspector is questioning the others Sheila has figured out that he knows what they have done to Eva or Daisy. "Why-you fool-he knows. Of course he knows. And I hate to think how much he knows that we don't know yet.

  2. How has watching a production of 'An Inspector Calls' by J.B.Priestley enhanced the script ...

    He questions each one of them in turn, enquiring about a girl (later found to be Eva Smith/Daisy Renton) who has died after purposefully swallowing some disinfectant. The inspector reveals that all of them had a part in her death.

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