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Message In J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls

3046 words - 12 pages

Message in J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls

J.B Priestley sets the stage play of An Inspector Calls within the
fictional industrialised city of Brumley. Brumley is most likely
typical of many towns where the factory owners, who supplied much
required employment, were able to run things in essence how they
wanted. All action of the performance is carried out in the Birling's
dining room. Mr Birling, his wife and their fully-grown children, Eric
and Sheila have been enjoying a family banquet celebrating the
engagement of Sheila Birling to Gerald Croft. The entrance of a police
Inspector named Goole, investigating the suicide of a young woman, Eva
Smith, interrupts the night. Priestley conveys various messages in a
number of ways, to the audience, through the Inspector. I will explore
these in close detail, throughout this essay.

The play was actually written by J.B Priestley in 1945, but it was set
in 1912. The play was first performed in 1946, with a purpose of being
theatrical, unique, and extraordinary. Priestley wanted to put across
strong messages to the audience regarding them. He set this play in
1912 to give the play a focused social and historical context. Many
historically significant events had taken place prior to 1946, such
events include: both World Wars, the sinking of the Titanic, and the
formation of the first Labour government. By setting the play in 1912,
it enabled Priestley to use dramatic devices to a powerful extent. The
1946 audience would be aware of the events that had taken place and
they would be conscious of Priestley's use of dramatic devices in the
'polemical' piece of writing.

In this essay I intend to explore in close detail what message J.B
Priestley is trying to get across in the play and how he does it. I
will do this by studying each of the characters scrupulously, and
exploring the effects of Priestley's use of dramatic devices, language
and themes in the play.

Priestley desires his audience to receive a number of messages when
reading or watching the play. Firstly, Priestley wanted to convey a
genuinely experienced and impressively expressed social message of
collective responsibility, rather than the Conservative view of 'every
man for himself'. Priestley also wanted to articulate a strong message
of true morality, providing a voice for the conscience, and presenting
what would happen if prejudice and inequality were permitted to
continue unrestricted. A change in old-fashioned views is another
message Priestley wanted to convey in the play.

Priestley wanted to convey all of these messages as there were
fundamentals that encircled him in his working environment, as in 1910
when Priestley became "a very junior clerk with the local wool firm…"
from which he encountered the inferior, working classes in the factory
and the...

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