Essay on An Inspector Calls by J.B.Priestley

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An Inspector Calls by J.B.Priestley

The play ‘An Inspector Calls’ has been set in 1912, however it was written in 1945 by J.B.Priestley. These dates are particularly important because in 1912 when it was set, the attitudes of the higher and middle classes where those typical of the Edwardian period. They were happy with the fact they were financially secure and that the country was currently going through a time of industrial prosperity, they didn’t want things to change. Whereas, the time in which the play was written the people had suffered the tragedy of the Titanic, two World Wars and were just overcoming the economic depression of the 1930’s. Priestley had seen such a rapid change over the
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Priestley was well known for his Socialist attitudes of equality and justice; he believed everyone should be treated the same and the social class system should be abolished as it only caused hostility and prejudice between people, just for their wealth and social status instead of being interested in a persons actual personality. In the play, it is ironic but not at all coincidental that the period in which it is set, the Edwardian era, consists of attitudes, which are in complete opposition to the Socialist beliefs of Priestley.

Priestley’s biggest concern with people at the time was the lack of responsibility they showed. The attitudes of the higher and middle classes in 1912 were those common of the Edwardian era. The social classes meant a division between them, causing a lack of responsibility. Priestley emphasises this lack of responsibility through the role of Birling, and casually uses the role of the Inspector to progressively mock him throughout the play.

The role of the Inspector can be interpreted in many different lights, for one he is seen as trying to make the Birling’s aware of the fact that their actions do not only affect their lives but others as well. Another way the audience might see him, is as a teacher, he is not only making them aware of the affect they have on others, but also trying to teach them a lesson so they will be

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