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Priestley's Main Aim In An Inspector Calls

1487 words - 6 pages

Priestley's Main Aim in An Inspector Calls
J.b. Prestly wrote 'An inspector calls' in 1943 on a play based in
1912. He was born in Bradford Yorkshire on 13th sept 1894 and died in
1984. He left school at sixteen because he wanted to write and takes a
job with a firm of wool merchants. Priestley used his knowledge in
working in the local wool to present Eva Smith and the working class
people.

His fathers friends were mainly socialist and he joined in with their
political arguments. He used his socialist views in the play. He
joined the army in 1914 and uses his knowledge he had in the war to
portray the character of Mr Birling. Priestley's aim is to educate the
audience through the characters and their individual responsibility
towards other people.

Arthur Birling is the kind of character who is concerned with money.
'A hard-headed business man', he believes that society is as it should
be. The rich stay rich, the poor stay poor and there is a large gap
between the two. He believes that 'a man has to mind his own business
and look after himself and his own'. When put with other things
Birling has said in the play, we see that Priestley's views do not
concur with Birling's and he has added statements to make the audience
see Birling's views as false. Birling's confidence in the predictions
he makes - that the Titanic is 'unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable',
that 'The Germans don't want a war. Nobody wants a war' and that
'we're in for a time of increasing prosperity' give that audience the
impression that his views of community and shared responsibility are
misguided also. Every one of the predictions Birling makes are wrong;
the Titanic sank on her maiden voyage, World War one broke out two
years after the play was set and the American stock market crashed in
1929, plunging the world into economic chaos. This leads us to regard
Mr Birling as an arrogant and shortsighted man

If we contrast the character of Birling with that of the Inspector, we
can see Priestly's aims showing. The Inspector is the opposite of
Birling. Where Birling's predictions are wrong, the Inspector predicts
that if people don't learn their responsibilities, they will be taught
in 'fire and blood and anguish'. This prediction refers to World War I
most obviously. The lessons of World War I weren't learnt so the same
mistakes were made and another war started. Though Priestly was
unaware of it when the play was written, sixty years on the same
mistakes have caused war after war. Another contrast to Birling is
that while Birling seemingly knows nothing of his family's affairs,
Sheila says of the Inspector 'We hardly ever told him anything he
didn't know'.

At the end of Act Three, Birling seems not to have taken any of the
lessons of the...

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