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An Inspector Calls By J.B. Priestley

1799 words - 7 pages

"An Inspector Calls" by J.B. Priestley

The play ‘An Inspector Calls’ was written in 1945, which was just at
the end of the Second World War. The play is set in 1912, just before
the First World War. The play was set at this particular time so that
J.B. Priestley could get his message across more clearly. The message
was that we all have to take responsibility for our actions, which can
have consequences.

Another reason why this may be a ‘well made’ play is that J.B.
Priestley gives hints to the audience at the beginning, which builds
up excitement and interest. The hints given are revealed slowly
throughout the play. Examples of the hints would be when Sheila
comments about Gerald never coming near her the previous summer;
eventually we find out that Gerald has been connected with an affair.

Secondly could be when Mr. Birling remarks about the war and the
Titanic. He carries on talking about how the Germans will never
conclude to war and how it is virtually impossible. He also says that
the luxury liner the Titanic is setting of next week and he describes
it as “Unsinkable, absolutely Unsinkable.” We know what happens
afterwards, World War One begins and the Titanic was one of the
biggest disasters in history of liners. From the examples and
statements we find out J.B. Priestley is telling us something very
important which is, no matter what Mr. Birling says it is completely
wrong.

Thirdly, when Eric says, “Yes, I remember…” and then suddenly stops.
When he says this he is having a conversation with Gerald (sister’s
husband) and Mr. Birling (his dad). The conversation is on women and
their clothing, as Gerald agrees with Mr. Birling by saying “ That’s
true”. Eric says, “Yes I remember…” but as he sees his father sitting
next to him he checks himself and pauses. This gives the audience a
fair bit of an idea that Eric has been linked or confronted with a
woman before, that no one in his family know of.

Gradually, as the play progresses, the audience interest increases as
more and more is revealed about the family’s involvement with Eva
Smith. Firstly we learn that Mr. Birling has sacked Eva Smith from his
own factory because she asked for more pay. I think Mr. Birling
couldn’t care less about Eva, he thought of the situation as strictly
business.

“Well, it’s my duty to keep labour costs down, and if I’d agreed to
this demand for a new rate we’d have added about twelve percent to our
labour costs.”

Secondly, Sheila got Eva Smith fired when jealousy arose with in her.
This is when Sheila thought Eva was laughing at her at how she looked
in an item of clothing. Sheila thought Eva would look much better in
the dress than she would, so she complained to the manager and
demanded she be fired; because of how well known and of a high-class
she was the demand was met by the manager. At first Sheila did not
care or realise what she had done but after knowing Eva had died she
felt very guilty.

...

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