An Inspector Calls is one of the most enduring plays on the 20th century made. It contains a strong message which meant to change the way the people of that time treated each other and others around them. He was trying to educate society that they needed to take responsibility this is when the higher class needs to look after the lower classes, i. e. the working class. This means that they don’t treat them badly and that they have just as many rights as the upper class. I know this because of the way the play is acted out and set.Order now
Priestly sets the play in 1912 because the social structure of English society changed dramatically between the first and Second World War. This is significant because they had different views on the classes at different times. Priestly sets the play in 1912 because the class structure was still in operation. This would give the audience a look at what things used to be like. It is set in a 19th century house most of the play is in the drawing room and the dinning room. This makes it easier for the producers as they only need two sets this is also typical of a detective thriller.
The story centres around a family called the Birlings. The Birling’s are a family of four and soon to be in the Birlings family once he is married to Sheila is Gerald. Mr Birling the man of the house is a very arrogant man and has a strong point of view. “I can’t accept responsibility. If we were all responsible for everything that happened to everybody we’ had anything to do with, it would be very awkward. ” A working class girl has died or being straight forward murdered, inspector Goole has a visit to the house of Birlings as the entire family are somehow involved in causing the death of Eva smith.
The above statement shows us that he is very opinionated and that he goes by his politics only. An example of his arrogance is when he sacked Eva Smith after she asked him for a pay rise. Mrs Birling runs a charity for the working class. Although she doesn’t care about Eva Smith that much either and is very two-faced. Sheila is a pretty, clever young girl who got Eva fired after she made a remark about how silly Sheila looked in a dress. “I tell you now – whoever that inspector was, it was anything but a joke. You knew it then. You began to learn something.
And now you’ve stopped you’re ready to go on in the same old way”. This means she was the only one of the family who actually learnt her reason and was disgusted with the rest of the family because they all believed it was a hoax and that they had done nothing wrong. Where as Sheila knows that if the inspector was real all of them would have been arrested for it. Gerald is in love with Sheila and is wishing to marry her; he had an affair with Eva Smith but left her. He is still in love with Sheila but she will not take him back. Everything all right now Sheila. (Holds up the ring) what about this ring”.
“No, not yet it’s too soon. I must think”. This proves that Gerald wants Sheila back and that Sheila will not take him back. Eric is the son of the Birlings he is an alcoholic and has been ever since he first visited the Palace Bar. He also made Eva Smith pregnant. To help her on her feet Eric stole money from his father. You would not expect this from someone who is meant to be of a higher class than every one else the upper class seem to believe that they can get away with anything.
Inspector Goole is a working class man who is very assertive and very intelligent. He makes the family admit to killing Eva Smith. He does this by trying to twist the families’ words and making them slip up he also shows the family photos of a so called Eva smith. He shows the photos of her and singles them out one by one. This breaks them down slowly and makes them admit to being involved in killing her. There is much dramatic irony in the play, most of this is created by Birling as he talks about the wars being impossible when they eventually happened.
And I tell you, by that time you’ll be living in a world that’ll have forgotten all these capital versus labour allegations and all these silly little war scares. ” this is dramatic irony because Mr Birling is saying that it will never happen when eventually it does. This demonstrates some of the dramatic irony he makes in the play Mr Birling made a speech at Gerald and Sheila’s engagement party and it made the others think of him as wise, strong minded and experienced in life.
Priestly used dramatic irony when Mrs Birling talks about Eva and her Baby’s Father she calls the Father a “drunken idler” not knowing that the Farther is actually Eric, who is actually a drunk. This is dramatic irony this gets the audience thinking would Mrs Birling still say the same if she knew it was Eric. Mr Birling’s engagement speech gave the audience a good view into his character it shows that he is very arrogant and has very strong opinions. I can tell this because the things he talks about that he said are impossible to happen.
And he cannot see that they will happen because he has his own set opinions. The amount of dramatic irony in this play creates tension for the audience. The audience are left wondering what else is birling wrong about. Priestly presents the play as a detective thriller, because it is a good way to get the point across and is quite easy to understand. A lot of dramatic devices were used to add to the tension. Before inspector goole enters the house the doorbell strikes, the sound is sharp and shrill. This signifies a shift in tone and atmosphere.
As now the atmosphere is more uncomfortable, now the inspector arrived inside as soon as he steps inside it becomes bright and hard. This again signifies the change in atmosphere but also links to the close inspection the family will receive from the inspector. There are many similarities in the play linking it with a detective thriller for example a mysterious death happens, a detective is trying to collect pieces of a puzzle to solve the murder, family are the suspects and try to make themselves innocent.
All these things relate to the play and make the play seem a detective thriller setting. This structure is significant to the play because it makes the play more interesting and gives it a good setting. This genre usually steers clear of social and political messages and so priestly was unconventional in his choice of genre which made the play all more effective. In the play Inspector Goole use’s a photograph to identify the body of Eva Smith. The audience believes that there is one photo and that it is of Eva Smith.
But towards the end of the play the family decide to believe that there is more than one photo because the inspector only showed one family member at a time the photo and the inspector decided when to show them it. So the family believe that the inspector showed them all different pictures “Gerald’s dead right. He could have used a different photograph each time and we’d be none the wiser we may all have been recognising different girls. ” This makes the family believe they are innocent and that the inspector is a fake, which again makes the ending of the play all the more powerful.
The way that the play ends is ironic because the family thinks they are in the clear except after they think they are in the clear they receive a phone call from the police saying that there has been a mysterious death and that an inspector is on his way round. This must be very shocking for the family and I found it quite comical. Priestly is sending out an important social message stating the eternal struggle of the rich and poor and the injustice in society. Priestly didn’t single handedly change society, but he and others like him, contributed to its improvement.