An Inspector Calls

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Tejpal Vig

An Inspector Calls

An Inspector calls is a play written by J.B Priestley. It is set in the year 1912 at time where revolution in to our current era had begun. Priestly uses many great theatrical devices to convey his ideas to the audience.

John Boynton Priestley was born on the 13th September 1894 and was brought up in the town of Bradford. He came from a middle class family, his grandparents worked in mills, and he often spent time with them working there. He learnt about the poverty and the adversity middle class families encountered. It is my belief that J.B Priestley wanted to teach us how cruel upper class society is to the working class. He does this by showing how one upper class family individually drove a young working class girl to suicide.

The play is predominantly centred around the inspector's thorough interrogation of the Birling family, on a mementoes occasion. The Birlings are celebrating the engagement of their daughter Sheila Birling to Gerald Croft. The inspector himself is used as a device to help us to understand the characters personalities, values and characteristics. As well as being a device to describe the characters, he also is used to spread a message. This message is shown in the final scene just before he exits.

"But just remember this. One Eva Smith has gone but there are millions and millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with us, with their lives, their hopes and fears, their suffering and the chance of happiness, all intertwined with our lives, with what we think and say and do. We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will come when if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish. Good Night”. This quote is an example of the message Priestly wants to get through to the audience by using the Birlings as a metaphor. The message he aims to convey to the audience is that everyone is responsible for their actions as there always repercussions. He also aims to teach that we should always think our actions through before doing them.

If the play was to be sorted by genre, I think the moral genre would suit it best as the word moral means arising from conscience or the sense of right and wrong. There is one moral which comes up all through the play and this is that we are all responsible for each other. The play was written to teach the audience some morals, hence it being in the moral genre

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The play isn't supposed to be realistic and in turn Inspector Goole was a device to get each member of the audience to examine their consciences. Priestley also wants to create the eerie impression that what we read and watch in the play is a ghostly premonition of what might happen if we do not take responsibility for our actions. Priestly also expresses that learning


happens through time and from experience. The inspector is almost omnipotent, towards the end of the play, it seems he knows everything.

The play is set in 1912, just before ...

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