Arthur Birling Says: “If We Were All Responsible for Everything That Happened to Everybody We’d Had Anything to Do with, It Would Be Very Awkward Wouldn’t It?” How Does Priestley Present Ideas About Responsibility in an Inspector Calls?
In An Inspector Calls, one of the main themes is responsibility. Priestley is interested in our personal responsibility for our own actions and our collective responsibility to society. The play explores the effect of class, age and sex on people's attitudes to responsibility, and shows how prejudice can prevent people from acting responsibly. In this essay I am going to explain how Priestley presents the theme of responsibility and how he uses structural and language devices to do so.
In Act 1, …show more content…
Another way that Priestley portrays the theme of responsibility is by contrasting the views of the old (Mr and Mrs Birling) and the young (Sheila and Eric). The old are set in their ways and are completely confident that they are right and they see the young as foolish. They will do anything to protect themselves and how others view them (their social class). They deny all responsibility of their actions and blame everyone else, for example when Mrs Birling says: “But I think she only had herself to blame”. Priestley makes the older characters seem selfish and stubborn and he contrasts this with the young by having Sheila play an important role, as the Inspectors almost “assistant”, and protesting