I personally think the writer of ‘An Inspector Calls’, J.B Priestly tried to educate more than entertain. I don’t think it mattered much to him whether people liked or disliked this play, but that they left the theatre thinking about it and what it meant. In this essay I will try to explain this using a variety of different methods, including singling out certain characters and showing how they have tried t get the moral across in their own way, and by going into focus on the inspector who believe educates the most and who makes the biggest impression on the audience watching the play. However to do this I should show what I believe the moral of this tale is
The writer made the moral of this story known at the very beginning, however we were not to know this until the end when it became apparent what the moral was. Priestly uses very clever subtleties in his work which are hard to pick up on unless you know hat you are looking for. It is just such a subtle occurrence that makes the moral apparent. It happens during Arthur Birlings speech near the beginning of the first act, the one concerning how society today is too concerned about each other and not enough about themselves. That if they looked after their own more life would be much easier.
The way some of these cranks talk and write now, you’d think everybody has to look after everyone else, as if we’re all mixed up together like bees in a hive – community and all that nonsense” is how he actually puts it. It is just seconds after this that the inspector arrives, interrupting Birling in the middle of his speech, perhaps meaning that what he is saying is wrong and that he has come to put him right, which in a way he has. It may also be prudent to note that Birling also refers to the threat of war in his ongoing speech and dismisses all notions that it will ever happen, saying that nobody wants war except some “half civilised folk in the Balkans”.
However we, as a modern day audience, know that the war did happen in such a way as to involve the whole world. That misjudgement alone seems to undermine everything Birling had said and make his speech seem even more like the ramblings of a man who thinks himself much more than much more than he actually is. It is then that the inspector arrives right in the middle of the speech, only serving to further undermine Birling, and the fact that he is an inspector even more so.
These repeated interruptions of Birling must indicate that what he is saying is wrong, that he is talking as a man who follows his own rule too well, so much so that he has completely no idea what the public thinks anymore. Therefore the moral of the story is this: One cannot merely look after himself and his own, we have to look after each other, we are one society and we are all the same. We must look after each other to survive.
Knowing this we can now show how the different characters try to get this across, the main characters I will be focusing on are the ones who I believe do this best. I shall begin with Mr Birling. Birling starts the series of events leading up to the girls death, by releasing her from his employment. the people around him, at least the ones with any sense seem to look upon this as a harsh punishment considering that all the girl had done was encourage the people around her to stand up for themselves, in demanding for a pay rise. A relatively small pay rise.
From there girl gradually gets closer and closer to her point of death. Birling, naturally denies all responsibility, he believes he was justified in his decision and has no regrets even though he knows she is noe dead. Knowing the moral of this tale, it seems a good comparison between the lead up to the girls death and what might happen, in the writers opinion if we do not begin to look out for each other. For example, Arthur’s apperent ignorance towards her death, even though he was indirectly responsible for it reflects how the worlds ignorance towards things such as the unemployed, will gradually lead to its undoing. Arthur continues to look ever more foolish throughout his time in the play and he gets his message across in showing that someone who does only look after hi own and is totally ignorant towards the downfalls of society elsewhere is a fool and should be viewed as one.