An inspector calls is a morality play that challenges the ideas of an upper class Edwardian audience,preistley achieves this both through the attitudes of the play but also through his implementation of personal morals. Sheila is initially presented as the stereotypical Edwardian daughter but soon freely presents her emotions, without the need for approval from her parents.
“An Inspector Calls” is a morality play by the socialist playwright J. B. Priestley written in 1945 but set in 1912. The play is based on the wealthy Birling family, who is questioned by a police inspector regarding a young woman’s death. Using characters of different ages to represent the contrast of political stances and attitudes, Priestley attempts to educate the audience. He believed that Capitalism was the sole reason for the start of world war one and therefor also the cause of the great economic depression and the second world war. Priestley uses the age in the play, to tell the audience that capitalists don’t have any social responsibility, as they do not accept any responsibility for Eva Smith’s death. The behavioural contrast between the Birling parents and their children demonstrate that if you are capitalist, you can still alter your beliefs and become socialist.
'An Inspector Calls' is a morality play - a form of play developed in the late middle ages in which a Christian moral lesson was brought out through the struggle between the forces of good and evil - set in 1912, and revolves around the questioning of a family by Inspector Goole about the suicide of a young woman (Eva Smith) that the family knew.The author, J.B. Priestley is trying to show us what some people's arrogance and selfishness can cause without them even noticing. Priestley was a socialist, therefore
The Dramatic Methods Used by Priestley to Convey the Social and Moral Message of An Inspector Calls
An Inspector Calls is a three-act drama, which takes place on a single night in 1912, and focuses on the Birling family, who live in a wealthy but not particulary homely house in Brumley. The story begins when the mysterious Inspector Goole calls unexpectedly on the prosperous Birling family. The idea of the play, and particularly the role of the inspector, is to try to bring the Birling family to understand that they have a moral responsibility for the death of Eva Smith, if not a legal one. In Act Three, the Inspector tells the Birling family: “The girl killed herself and died a horrible death. But each of you helped to kill her. Remember that. Never forget it.” But who was really the
In An Inspector Calls the theme of gender inequality is explored comprehensively. In the play, most of the women are portrayed as feeble characters, unable to make decisions for themselves. Many people often think this of Sheila, who the men feel needs protecting from lots of things, like the information that a girl has committed suicide. The play was set in 1912 when the patriarchal society was the norm. So the women that were in the play would have been seen as possessions to their husband and therefore did not work or have careers. However it would have been accepted for women to participate in charity work as Mrs Birling was. Apart from that, women would have been simply seen as wives and mothers not workers and fighters. Women did not have the same rights as men most notably women did not even have the right to vote. The
This is evident in “We are responsible for each other.” The inspector implies that everyone is responsible for one another, utterly contradicting Mr. Birling’s speech before he came in. The inspector is the most conflicting character in the entire play as he stands cool and hard before the Birlings and the audience and unveils the consequences of their actions on those below them. The dramatic irony reinforces that the inspector is in fact voicing Priestley’s message out, therefore emphasizing the effect. Furthermore, the inspector is presented as the figure of authority in the play. This is reinforced in "massively taking charge as dispute erupts between them." He is the only character that calms down the household when an argument breaks. He also expresses no interest towards Mr. birling’s authoritative friends and disregards his threats. The stage directions reinforce that when capitalism destroys everything, socialism is the only answer. Both contemporary and modern audience is left in a conflicting situation as he creates conflict in the play between other
Although there are some clear aspects of the inspector that show presents the inspector in different lights, but there are also slightly more subtle points Priestley made to present the inspector differently. One of these ways is through the identity of Inspector Goole. The fact that the inspectors name is 'Goole', gets the audience questioning his existence. This is because, although some people will argue that ghosts and such exist and others will argue against that, there is always a slight hint of doubt due to the fact that it cannot be proven. By naming the inspector 'Inspector Goole', the audience start to question the reality of what is happening in the story, later to realize that his name foreshadows what is too come. The audience also,, respond to the inspector in a slightly negative way as, stereotypically, ghosts and gooles are not usually viewed as a good thing, but as something supernatural and out of place. This also makes the audience become slightly sceptical of the inspector's intentions of questioning the Birling family and Gerald. For a different way of looking at how Priestley presents the inspector, you can relate the inspectors' name to the two main theories of time. The theory that I believe most relates to the inspector is
You feel that the Inspector knows everything already, and that by telling him, you are not giving information, but confessing to what you have done- which he already knows. This makes Sheila and Eric in particular give a lot more information than is necessary to the questions that the Inspector asks. The Inspector sets up a scene, and then inserts snippets of information that two parties will both be able to individually interpret, and will reveal more than necessary. The Inspector makes the information he gives ambiguous in order to draw the largest reaction. In this way, he is able to play off their response and extract more information from them. In some aspects, Inspector's character seems to be ahead of his time. The manner in which he conducts his questioning seems to be more advanced than the way in which they are received. Also the way in which he conducts himself gives the impression of being ahead of the family that he is questioning. He also has the sensibility of someone who lived during the 1945/46, after the wars. The Inspector does not fit' in with the way in which things where done during the time of this play. Priestley makes the Inspector seem ahead of his
John Boynton Priestley was born in Bradford, Yorkshire on September 13th 1984. The play “An Inspector Calls” was written by him in 1945, and came onstage in 1914. An Inspector calls, is a play that revolves around the apparent suicide of a young woman called Eva Smith. In the play, the unsuspecting Birling family are visited by the mysterious Inspector Goole. Priestley uses a variety of different techniques, especially language and quotations, to contrast and elicit differing responses to Mr Birling and Inspector Goole.
Throughout the play An Inspector Calls by J B Priestley, it is clear that Priestley strongly believes in the importance of a caring society and the consequences of our actions. He presents these views on inequalities through the presentation of Sheila Birling. This is done in various different ways using numerous techniques.
Throughout Priestley’s play, ‘An inspector calls’, a main theme runs about responsibility and differentiation between classes. Each character is accountable of doing something that brought about the death of Eva smith. All the characters contribute to her death in one way or the other, and all of them are at fault for the death of
And I tell you that the time will soon come when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in blood and anguish.” This passage shows that Priestley wanted to make the Inspector the law bringer and the authority in this play because the audience has to agree with what the Inspector is saying for Priestley’s message to be effective. The quote refers to World War 1 and World War 2 and so Priestley uses the power and knowledge of the Inspector to scare the audience by using powerful sentences such as “they will be taught it in blood and anguish” which reminds the watchers of the pain and suffering they have already gone through. The inspector tries to persuade the audience that trying to pursue wealth is dangerous and destructive such as the case of Mr Birling starting the “chain of actions” for Eva Smith. Priestley had completely opposite views on the world to the main characters, mostly Arthur Birling. The Inspector is there to represent the views of Priestley and so is shown to be much of a better person and man than Birling and his family and whereas Mr Birling is shown to be greedy and selfish in his actions, the Inspector is shown to be the opposite. This shows the main role of the inspector is to present Priestley’s ideas.
In this essay, I am going to discuss how the character Eva Smith in the play An Inspector Calls by JB Priestley is treated in the play and the relation of this to the socialist views of the playwright. I will look at the historical context of when the play was written and when it was set, describe what happens to Eva Smith throughout the play and then link this to a socialist viewpoint.
How does JB Priestly explore and present the theme of gender in the play ‘An Inspector Calls”?