An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley
This play confuses the audience in so many ways. It tells the story of
an upper middle class family who together, with the power of the
mysterious Inspector Goole confess their parts in an apparent suicide
which took place earlier in the day. The play is set in 1912 in a
place called Brumley, an industrial city in the North Midlands. This
was a fictional town which Priestley had created in order to show what
towns were like during that period.
e.g. Bradford and Bromley(north London).
The play is set in an industrial Midlands town in 1912, just before
the First World War started. The play focuses around the mysterious
death of a poor young working class girl called Eva Smith. I think
that each character in the play is a stereotypical representation of a
certain social class and certain generation, they show the different
attitudes that each class of person has. There are 5 main characters,
other than the inspector. These are Mr and Mrs Birling, their children
Sheila and Eric Birling and Sheila´s fiancé Gerald Croft. All of them
are upper class citizens and believe themselves to be somewhat part of
the social elite.
Priestley uses this class group for his play because Priestley himself
believes that the upper class attitude is wrong and uses this play as
a way to show his anger at the way this country worked. He very
cleverly produces this concept into a play, because he knows that
mainly upper class people will see the performance, so the message
will definitely get across to the right category of person, the people
who need to change their ways.
The play begins in "The dinning-room of a fairly large suburban house,
belonging to a prosperous manufacturer." "The general effect is
substantial and heavily comfortable, but not cosy and homelike." The
lighting also has in important part in setting the scene, according to
the text "The lighting should be pink and intimate until the inspector
arrives, and then it should be brighter and harder." This sets the
scene well, were in 1912 at the home of a wealthy high-class family,
the intimate family atmosphere is initially apparent and everyone
seems to be having a happy gathering to start. The Birling´s seem to
live in luxury, with good quality solid furniture and a table laid
with champagne glasses and port glasses and after dinner cigars. The
family was obviously well off and appear to have a nice lif.
The opening of the book also gives a short description of each
character. "Arthur Birling is heavy-looking, rather portentous man in
his middle fifties with fairly easy manners but rather provincial in
his speech. His wife is about fifty, a rather cold woman and her
husband´s social superior. Sheila is a pretty girl in her early
twenties, very pleased with life and rather excited. Gerald...