Priestley wrote the play in 1945, and the play was set in 1912. When the play was set wages were very poor, redundancy was extremely high. Priestley in this play showed that capitalist people were no different then general people in society. Priestley shows this by telling the audience how badly we treat society and how selfish as people we all are, and mainly how we don’t accept our responsibility.
Priestley achieves this by playing the main role the inspector and therefore uses his voice as a tool. The inspector can predict things before they actually happen and uses this as an advantage and sets reactions throughout the family. The Inspector creates various tension in the family.
As soon as he arrives he starts of explaining about a death and why he is here “a young women died in the infirmary shed been taken there this afternoon because shed swallowed a lot of strong disinfectant burnt her inside of course” he also creates tension and stirs things up, and scares the Birling family” she wasn’t pretty when I saw her today but she had been pretty very pretty” here the inspector is talking about Eva Smith and how she had been pretty before she had commit suicide, he is not generally talking about how pretty she is, but mainly how she had been a generous person or what she had been through, as you should remember Priestley is using the inspector as a tool.
The inspector was no pushover he also shows to stand his ground as when Eric says “I better turn in” the inspector says “and I think you’d better stay here” here he is standing his ground and also making his role, he does this as Priestley is showing that a rich family cant get away with everything. When the inspector arrived he seemed to make a very strong impression he said “id like some information if you don’t mind, Mr Birling two hours ago a young women died in the infirmary shed been taken there this afternoon because shed swallowed a lot of strong disinfectant burnt her inside of course” Eric says “my god” this also shocked the audience, as he came in ruining a marriage
The play is structured effectively as there is a section at the begging were the audience can picture themselves on stage, where there is no inspector so when the Birling family are having a nice time and enjoying themselves as a high classed family the audience see themselves on stage, once Priestley has the audience picturing themselves on stage he makes his move this is when the inspector arrives interrupting Gerald and Sheila’s marriage “yes, you’ve piled it on a bit tonight father” ” special occasion and feeling contented” this shows there happy and celebrating.
But once the inspector informs them about the death “I would like some information if you don’t mind, Mr Birling two hours ago a young women died in the infirmary shed been taken there this afternoon because shed swallowed a lot of strong disinfectant burnt her inside of course”, they don’t seem very happy. There is no inspector at the end of the play this is so they think they have been cheated however the important message is to be nice to people and although even if they had been shown different photos of different people there actions are still the same.
Mr Birling thinks he is very clever at the begging and at the end of the play that is the echoes at the begging and the end. The play stats and finishes at the same point it’s a vicious circle and this means it keeps carrying on as if they think the inspector is fake Birling says “this makes a difference ya know in fact it makes all the difference” Gerald says “of course” then Sheila bitterly says I suppose were all nice people now” Mr Birling does use quite a lot of dramatic irony in the play one of the main ones is about the titanic “The titanic she sails next week forty six thousand eight hundred tons forty six thousand eight hundred tons new York in five days and every luxury and unsinkable absolutely unsinkable”
Mr Birling is very confident throughout the play even when the inspector arrives when the inspector arrives Mr Birling say “Can I help” he is trying to be on top. Priestley made act on very dramatic and the audience all knew at the end of act one were anticipating a mystery The inspector arrives when Mr Birling is talking about every man stands for himself this was not a co incidence so when the inspector leaves he says we should live as one. Priestly did not want a big scary built inspector but wanted a intelligent one ” the inspector need not to be a big man but he creates at once an impression of solidity and purposefulness” Inspector ruins family as he interrupts a marriage
Priestley is very clever in this play as the inspector is not there to arrest anybody that’s not proving a point the is there to say how selfish you are with in yourselves as there just made up characters but once you’ve pictures yourselves with them there is no looking back. Inspector Goole is a clever name as this means ghost also means feeding of the dead this also relates to the play and makes it spookier. Inspector makes all of the Birling family responsible for the death but they only accept there part the point that is trying to be made is that you are all responsible but Mr Birling does not take responsibility. Priestley is more concerned about moral law not criminal law as it’s a play and the audience are being mocked and he cant get them arrested as she commit suicide.
As its said in the play Eva Smith is just one Eva Smith there are millions he is talking about society in general and trying to make a point that we need to treat everybody with respect and again the date is important to the play as he can mock society even more. Inspector acts as a catalyst as he ruins family relationships. The inspector acts as a catalyst as he turns the Birling family into to sides, one side as the Mr and Mrs Birling there view on this is they want to keep the family reputation high and want to be seen as high class people the other side is honesty as Shelia & Eric confess to what they have done even after the inspector has gone and been named a fraud.
After the Inspector has been ‘so’ identified a fraud, tension is still high as Shelia and Eric were pleading guilty that they had treated somebody badly maybe not an ‘Eva smith’, as the inspector may have shown different photos to them both but they had treated ‘somebody’ badly, and they feel bad. the audience here is shown that you only realise what your doing bad until it has a negative approach on your ‘reputation’ or just effects you in anyway. After this another ‘inspector’ is on the phone and now most of the audience believe this as the real inspector and Eric and Sheila are ready to tell the truth, this inspector which is calling is the cliffhanging end to the inspector calls. The play ends in the midst of this tension and leaves the audience wanting to know more, this phone call is known as the donovment.