Critical evaluation of An Inspector Calls Essay

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Critical evaluation of An Inspector Calls

An Inspector Calls

‘An Inspector Calls’ is a play set in the mystery/ detective thriller genre. It is set in 1912 however it was written by J.B Priestly in
1945 and staged in Moscow. As he lived through both wars he could see what had actually happened in the time the play was set. J.B Priestly uses the characters to express his views on the issue of social responsibility, morality and about class divisions with many themes including greed, regret, guilt and blame.

‘An Inspector Calls’ is about the Birling family who are quite wealthy. They are celebrating their daughters engagement with her fiancé, Gerald. An Inspector arrives and breaks up the party, questioning the family on
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In the introduction, the play is said to be set in a large suburban house which has good solid furniture. It is comfortable but not cosy or homelike. It is an evening and they are seated in the dining room round a table near a fire. This setting creates a very eerie mood as they are in a large empty house. The fact that it is an evening produces a stronger impact on the mystery, (suspense as the events unfold). There is a change in Sheila’s behavior just after the inspector arrives. For example, when Sheila enters the room overhearing bits of conversation between the Inspector and Mr Birling, she is told to ‘run along’. However is very anxious to know what’s happening and to be involved. She is not so carefree once told of Eva’s suicide as she exclaims in shock ‘oh – how horrible’. Sheila is quite distressed as she later says ‘… I can’t help thinking about this girl–destroying herself so horribly...I wish you hadn’t told me’. This shows that
Sheila was so carefree and naïve, that this revelation of a suicide has affected her at such an early stage.

At this stage the main tensions of the play are finding out what exactly happened and who was involved.

Sheila then finds out that her father sacked Eva Smith for leading a strike in favor of a pay rise. She reacts in an unsure manner asking
‘Did you, Dad?’ This shows that Sheila thought her father’s action weren’t at all justified.

Priestly creates tension and
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