Theme of Responsibility in an Inspector Calls

3878 Words Feb 22nd, 2013 16 Pages
visit of Inspector Goole. But who is Inspector Goole? And who is the girl whose suicide he is apparently investigating?
Priestley deliberately set his play in 1912 because the date represented an era when all was very different from the time he was writing. In 1912, rigid class and gender boundaries seemed to ensure that nothing would change. Yet by
1945, most of those class and gender divisions had been breached. Priestley wanted to make the most of these changes. Through this play, he encourages people to seize the opportunity the end of the war had given them to build a better, more caring society.
Political views
During the 1930's Priestley became very concerned about the consequences of social inequality in Britain, and in
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• She sees Sheila and Eric still as "children" and speaks patronisingly to them.
• She tries to deny things that she doesn't want to believe: Eric's drinking,
Gerald's affair with Eva, and the fact that a working class girl would refuse money even if it was stolen, claiming "She was giving herself ridiculous airs."
• She admits she was "prejudiced" against the girl who applied to her committee for help and saw it as her "duty" to refuse to help her. Her narrow sense of morality dictates that the father of a child should be responsible for its welfare, regardless of circumstances.
• At the end of the play, she has had to come to terms that her son is a heavy drinker who got a girl pregnant and stole money to support her, her daughter will not marry a good social 'catch' and that her own reputation within the town will be sullied. Yet, like her husband, she refuses to believe that she did anything wrong and doesn't accept responsibility for her part in Eva's death. Sheila Birling
Sheila Birling
• She is described at the start as "a pretty girl in her early twenties, very pleased with life and rather excited."
• Even though she seems very playful at the opening, we know that she has had suspicions about Gerald when she mentions "last summer, when you never came near me." Does this suggest that she is not as naive and shallow as she first appears?
• Although she has probably never in her
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