An Inspector Calls Analysis English Literature Essay
The controversial morality play, An inspector calls a play written in 1948 a time where employment was at its highest and it was set before WW1 in 1912 a period where women were treated badly .It was written by the socialist writer J.B Priestly, who was active socialist who believed in social equality and comes from a line of Christian writers who carry an ancient message within their plays. J.B Priestly is using the role of the inspector to explain his controversial, political messages .By Priestly using the inspector he has made the play more appealing to more audiences .Priestly touches on many social issues but the central theme is responsibility as throughout the play we go into personal responsibility and collective responsibility .The first role of the inspector is to reveal the hypocrisy that lies within upper class of society. Furthermore second role of the inspector is to present the audience with a powerful warring and a glimpse to what the future holds for a society like this. The final role of the inspector is to present the audience with a solution a remedy in to how .Throughout the play J.B Priestly uses dramatic techniques to ensure that the audiences are entertained and have their attention.
The first role of the inspector is to interrogate the Burling family and reveal the hypocrisy that lies in not only the Burling family but the upper-class. The inspector uses a series of unavoidable, unfavorable revealing questions that the inspector uses as a platform in order to progress into more in depth question. The inspector begins his interrogation through asking intelligent basic question in order to crack the Burling family and work his way through the family. The inspector begins by implanting small facts into their minds of the Burling and as the night progresses the family become more aware of their consequences. The inspector is v for J.B priestly ideas and morals.
Once the Burlings have familiarized themselves with the inspector we being to discover the two stark responses that lie within the family. On one hand, you are presented with Shelia , a woman who instantly accepts her role in contribution to the death of Eva smith. On the other hand you are presented with Mr.Birling who refuses to accept responsibility for the contribution into eva smith death. Responsibility is the central theme that Priestley expresses in his play. The play constantly points out the need for a sense of personal responsibility in each and every member of society. The inspector strongly has the view that each character should have a responsibility not only for their individual actions, but also for the way that their actions affect others; to show both empathy and sympathy. As the play progresses, some of the other characters begin to realise that they have to take responsibility for their own actions and they begin to change. These characters who are willing to look at life from this perception act as the communal conscience of the other characters, whose driving concern is self-indulgence. Priestley's characters all react to guilt in different ways, when it is revealed to them. Moreover, some react in a way where they appreciate their misgivings and mistakes and they realise their 'wrong doings' were inexcusable, but the majority react in a way where they show no remorse or shame for their action; some are so hardened that they refuse even to accept that remorse is appropriate. It is clear that the younger characters are the ones most likely to show repentance for their actions, whilst the older generation refuse to take responsibility. Priestley's style of writing suggests that wrongdoing is like a disease, eating away from the inside. The characters must realise, accept and be responsible for the true results of what they have done, if they are to recover their humanity. It is essential that remorse is offered before healing can begin and forgiveness can take place. If responsibility is not taken for an action for which the characters are culpable, everyone is left in the dark.
Moreover, the second role of the inspector is to present the audience and the burling family with a powerful warning a glimpse of what the future holds for a society like this . The inspectors last speech to the Birlings is Priestly talking directly to the audience he is showing the audience that there will be ‘Fire blood and anguish’ he is trying to show the first world war and the second started with the attitude of the Birlings powerful ,ignorant and wealthy people but unless we change our ways, admit our faults and work together like Shelia there would be another world war .By Priestly doing this he has contributed in changing society and he has succeed as he has shown the audience his concern for moral law not for criminal law. He has done this by using Christian messages as vehicle for his own ideas. Priestly believes that he holds the panacea to British society’s problems. Priestly throughout the play gradually leads the audience into a impasse whether they change their ways or suffer. Priestly ends the play with a serve caveat to the audience and something to think about as they leave whether they are going to apply it to their lives and help to change British society and help to tackle discrimination .
Furthermore, another key role that the inspector has is to present the audience with a solution into how they should live their lives .J.B priestly uses Shelia as an example into how she has transformed from being an arrogant person into a self aware person who has a different perception of life .This view that Shelia has priestly wishes all the audience to capture and take home with them .The idea that we can either accept that we have contributed to the death of Eva smith and admit our faults or be ignorant like Mr. burling and continue to live our wealthy powerful lives without caring for other and without learning from our mistakes. The inspectors direct words “One Eva Smith is gone but there are millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with us. “Allows the audience to understand that there is a deeper meaning behind this. This allows the audience to reflect and understand that they can now walk away from the play understanding that they can help millions of people like Eva smith that are still alive as they still have a chance to change their lives.
In conclusion, J.B. Priestly uses dramatic devices in a very close relation to his concerns about the state of society. Furthermore, throughout the play, or specifically, in- Act 1, dramatic devices are used a lot. When a certain dramatic device is implemented, it will have a close connection with a concern (or theme). Each quote made will in some way lead back to Priestley's perception of the type of character that he is portraying. The impact that Priestley creates is incredibly powerful and makes the audience fully appreciate the difference between the rich and the poor, the capitalists and the socialists and those politically right wings against those politically left wing. I believe that Priestley had an aim to make his audience understand more the vast gap between the rich and the poor. He wanted those on the poor side to continue sharing, continue helping, taking responsibility and telling the truth, but he wanted them to not lay down and accept the punishment that the rich were giving them; almost torture! And, obviously he wanted the play to give the richer capitalist section
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