An Inspector Call
“An Inspector Calls” is a play which was written by J.B. Priestly in 1912. Priestley uses the play as an example of what can happen if we are ignorant to the feelings of others. J.B. Priestly was born in Bradford, Yorkshire on 13 September 1894 but his real mother died in the same year. Priestley dad was school master and remarried after four years later. At the age of sixteen he decided to leave school rather than work toward a University.
After the First World War broke out, Priestley joined the infantry and only just escaped death on a number of occasions. After the war, he gained a degree from Cambridge University, and then moved to London. At 1920 Priestly started to write novel which he become famous. At the age of 32 he started to write his own play. After the following end of the war in 1945 he had gained fame for writing and the University awarded him the title of honorary Doctor of Letters in 1970, and he was awarded the freedom of the City of Bradford in 1973 and the Order of Merit in 1977 which he really enjoyed until his death in 1984 ate age of 89.
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In this drama the dramatic irony, sound and lighting effects and cliff hangers are some of the techniques used by priestly to involve the audience while conveying his concerns.
Throughout this play priestly wants to share his concerns of society
and get his messages’ across. The main themes throughout this play are women, society and community, responsibility, family, and employers and employees.
In 1912 “An Inspector Call” was set before World War 1 because Birling’s thought that there would be no war and it is completely wrong. There were problems between higher and lower class family and in those days women were only used to get married; poor women were seen as cheap labour. The higher class doesn’t change the status of lower class level.
“An Inspector Calls” is a play about a family called the Birling family. One day, when they were celebrating the engagement of their daughter, Sheila, and when they were having fun, an inspector comes, and turns the happy night into misery.
Every character gives a first impression, and Sheila is one of them. “Sheila is a pretty girl in her early twenties, very pleased with life and rather excited” My first impressions when I heard Sheila’s quote was that she’s an immature, naï¿½ve girl, and she’s happy and enjoying life.
When Sheila heard about the girl’s death, she began to be more caring, and her character starts to change. “Oh-how horrible was it an accident?” this quote is showing that she starts to be caring, and she starts to concern and ask more questions to know more about the girl; maybe that she could help. The dash means that she paused, and this shows how shocked she was.
Sheila’s reaction to questioning was quite strong, “but these girls aren’t cheap labour-they’re people”. Sheila was standing up for these girls, she’s doing what she believes is right, and she doesn’t agree with what her dad said, he didn’t care about Eva Smith when she wanted to get paid more money so he fired her, he was talking like they weren’t people, she’s saying this like she knows how these people feel.
Sheila begins to feel that the inspector was blaming her and the family, so she got angry and said “what do you mean by saying that? You talk as if we were responsible?” she starts to defend herself and her family, because she cares about them all and she doesn’t want any of them to be in trouble, and get hurt.
After the inspector was gone, Sheila was quite confused and she said she wanted to be asked more questions and she’s not sure that she did the right thing by saying the truth about what she did to Eva Smith, it’s like she expected to be asked more questions or something else happens like get blamed for it and goes to jail, and she feels like she disserves it.
When Sheila heard that inspector Goole wasn’t a real inspector, she said I suppose we’re all nice people now. It shows that she’s being sarcastic, and she didn’t mean what she said, she meant the opposite. She said this because when they said the truth about everything it makes them nice people, but it doesn’t, and she thought that they all were a nice and a perfect family, but her thoughts were wrong after she heard what everyone in her family had done.
Sheila’s character changed from a girl who had a perfect life, to a caring girl. She couldn’t keep the truth from the inspector because he seems to know it already.
At the beginning of the play Sheila is in the happy mood. Everyone is enjoying Sheila’s and Gerald’s engagement. When the inspector comes to the engagement party the mood suddenly changes. The inspector starts asking question to everyone at the engagement party. After sometime Gerald realise that they had done something to kill Eva Smith. Sheila shows remorse and guilt in heaving it. Soon after that they find out the inspector was fake but before the play ends. The Birling family gets a call saying, ‘A girl has just died on her way to the infirmary after swallowing some disinfectant and a police inspector is on his way here to ask some questions.’ At this moment all the family member stare at each other guilty and dumb founded.
The audience does not find a great deal out about the Inspector and nothing is explicitly told to us; we are given hints and clues from the way he acts and what he says and are forced to piece these together to form our own ideas about his identity and his intentions When the inspector begins to ask Mrs Birling the questions, she answered angrily. “Well, come along-what is it you want to know” this shows that she wants the inspector to ask the questions as fast as possible because she wants him to leave quickly; she’s wasting her time for nothing. This suggests that she doesn’t care about the poor girl, and she doesn’t want to help. She has other stuff to do in the house which is better than this waste of time.