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An Inspector Calls J. B. Priestley's Morality Play

2298 words - 9 pages

The Play ‘An Inspector Calls’ is a modern morality play, created by J. B. Priestley. A morality play is a play that is designed to teach the audience the difference between right and wrong; the morality of this play is a Christian and socialist morality. The play encapsulates on the Christian religious morality that you should treat people the way you want to be treated to ‘love thy neighbour as thy self’. J. B. Priestley was a socialist who believed that everyone was created equally and should be treated equally. He believed in this despite his lack of faith. Priestley presents this moral message and his politics and opinions through the Inspector who is a God-like figure and serves as a conscience for both the audience and the Birling family. The Inspector also serves a peculiar but important role in the play. The Inspector teaches the Birling family morality and serves them a conscience. The Inspector is nothing more than a phantasm or illusion, as we know from the end of the play. Priestley’s moral is mixed between his politics and the beliefs of a Christian. As a socialist J. B. Priestley expresses his opinions through this play, in the time politicians were hated so Priestley used the play as a device to put his points forward. The play was not just a political view; it was his personal dream and passion to write an entertaining play. He creates it as a detective play because they were interesting, popular and the audience could also try to crack the mystery themselves, this was a very intelligent and unique way of expressing his opinions, as he knew they would be heard this way.

J.B. Priestley starts the play by introducing the Birling family. He starts with an engagement party between the Birling’s and Crofts. He creates the impression that the family are wealthy and pretentious by making them talk about ‘port’, which is very expensive and old-fashioned wine. Sheila uses the word ‘mummy’ which indicates her social class; she is upper-middle class. Gerald’s parents are richer, more important and more powerful than the Birling’s we know this because they refused to come to their own son’s engagement. Birling is a selfish man; he makes this obvious in his speech that the wedding is good for him because the ‘Crofts and Birling's are no longer competing,’ it’s good for business and it’s going to make money. This shows us, the audience, that Birling does not care about his daughter; he treats her like a product.
Then in Birling’s speech to his daughter he stated that there is not going to be any trouble with miners, but straight after historically there was a big miners strike, which proves Birling, is ignorant to the world, he thinks he knows what is going on but the reality is that he is not. Birling’s second prediction is that ‘there isn’t a chance of war’ but within three or four years World War 1 commenced so again he thinks he knows but he does not. Birling then makes a third prediction, that the great new ship, The Titanic, is...

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