JB Priestley’s Play of ‘An Inspector Calls’ is about a family called the Birlings. They are spending a happy evening celebrating the engagement of Sheila Birling to Gerald Croft, a marriage that will result in the merging of two successful local businesses. In addition, just when everything seems to be going so well, they receive a surprise visit from an Inspector Goole who is investigating the suicide of a young girl. The questions he asks to each character are relating to the case, this reveals that they all have secrets that link them to the tragedy.
The main core of the play is about the investigation of the Inspector into the death of Eva smith. Moreover, it is really a way of putting across the author’s political thoughts. Priestley has put his own political message across and he has used the characters in the play to do this. Priestly has also used the Birling family and the investigation into their part in her downfall, to make it less like a straight forward political speech, and a way to engage the audience and win their empathy.
The most distinguishable dramatic technique used is the way the characters show the author’s way of thinking, in which they act. This can be seen through each member of the family, therefore each one has a special role representing to us, something that Priestley is trying to destroy. To embark on, the first character is ‘the man of the house’, Mr Arthur Birling. Mr Birling seems to be a rich, irritable, self-centred person. Birling is very much confident in himself; he feels that his success from his small business is due to the fact he’s a ‘hard-headed practical man of business.
‘ He is also confident that strikes and labour troubles would not be a problem in the future and refers to fears of war as ‘silly little war scares’. However, this play was first performed in 1946 after WW2, so Birling’s predictions would have sounded pretty daft to the audience. As for the wider world, Birling thinks it is every man for himself, ‘a man has to make his own way’ and look after the family. It is ‘survival of the fittest’.
The other thing that is wrong with Birling is that he always thinks of himself first, and honestly believes that it is the only way to get through life. That makes it hard for him to understand other people’s opinions ‘If we were all responsible for everything that happened to everybody we’d ever had anything to do with, it would be very awkward, wouldn’t it? ‘ Birling is obsessed with how things appear to people. His main concern is his public image is going to be affected. He does not want the story to come out publicly and ruin him for good.