Essay An Inspector Calls

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An Inspector Calls

'An Inspector Calls' is a play written by JB Priestley in 1945 and set in 1912. Priestley demonstrates his concern with moral responsibility and his beliefs in Socialist values through the character of the
Inspector, whom he uses as a mouthpiece throughout the play. He voices his opinions on these issues using this technique, and they are shown by the way the Inspector deals with the Birling family and are exemplified by the obstacles to social harmony in which the Inspector has to face before coming to a suitable and justifiable conclusion.

The play was written in 1945 - within a week of World War Two ending - but set in 1912, when Britain still had its Empire and was doing very well financially. The time
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Priestley hoped that in writing 'An Inspector Calls', people could look back on events with hindsight and learn from the mistakes that society had made. He primarily wrote the play for a middle class audience about the working class, and how the Birlings and Gerald
Croft were all involved in making a young working class woman's life a misery, and consequently driving her to suicide.

The Birlings are a typical upper class family - they look down on those who are socially 'beneath' them, such as the Inspector, yet look up to those 'above'. Mr. Birling puts this specific idea into practice frequently. Although arrogant, he knows that he is lower down the social scale than his wife, as well as Gerald's family. However, he is aware of the difference in social class, and accepts them - "Don't blame her. [Lady Croft] comes from an old country family - landed people and so forth - so it's only natural."

At the beginning of the play, the Birlings are celebrating their daughter's engagement to Gerald Croft - the son of Arthur's business competitor. Immediately the impression is given that love isn't just the only force bringing Sheila and Gerald together; in fact, it seems that Mr. Birling is more interested in a new business proposal than his daughter's happiness: "You're just the kind of son-in-law I always wanted. Your father and I have been friendly
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