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Priestley exposes weakness Essay

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    “An Inspector Calls” is full of lies and deceit. Write fully about the way Priestley exposes weakness and wickedness not only through the characters on stage but also in society. “An Inspector calls”, was written by J. B. Priestley in 1942 and set in 1912. J. B. Priestley (John Boynton Priestley) was born in Bradford, Yorkshire on the 13th September 1894. Priestley was 48yrs old when he wrote “An Inspector Calls”. He set the book in 1912, as he was inspired within the years of 1911-1914; this was because, during the period before WW1, Priestley gained much of the experience, which boosted his writing career.

    With the outbreak of war in 1914, Priestly joined the infantry, at the age of only twenty. By the time he left the army in the year of 1919 he had seen active front-line service in France and had, by a whisker, escaped being killed at least once, when a German shell exploded no more than two or three yards away from him, as well as being a victim of a gas attack. These experiences were to have an indirectly influential effect upon his writing: “I was lucky in that war and have never ceased to be aware of the fact” When Priestly left the army, Priestly finally took a place in Cambridge University to read Modern History and Political Science.

    Priestly used various degrees of the “seven deadly sins” (pride, anger, sloth, gluttony, envy, covetousness, and lust), to show how each of the Birling’s are as guilty as each other. Mr. Birling is an old-fashioned Capitalist and is an ignorant and stubborn man, which is his wickedness. The quote in the text, “Yes, yes. Horrid business, but I don’t understand why you should come here inspector. ” in addition to, “(abruptly) There’s nothing else y`know. I’ve just told you that.

    ” Suggests Birling is careless of the situation, considering there is a suicide in mind; and just thinks he can brush it off his mind, as if it was nothing to do with him. Mr. Birlings` weakness is his carelessness and his insensitive approach to the lower class, as it says in one of his quotes, “And it doesn’t seem to me very important. ” This shows, stirringly, the reluctance and casual approach towards Eva Smiths` death. Mr. Birlings` contextual significance is, 1500 people died when the Titanic sank.

    This would have effected Birling by My personal opinion is J. B. Priestley presented Birling as a stirring, stubborn character with a strong view on capitalism and his false predictions. He successfully presented Birling and influences the audience with Birling`s strong personality. As well as Mr. Birling, Mrs. Birling is an old-fashioned Capitalist. An example of her weakness is she is so caught up in what she thinks and expects of others and her relations. She doesn’t actually know what they’re up to. She has a habit of blocking others out of her mind in order to please herself, “I think we’ve had enough of this wretched business. ”

    Mrs.Birling`s wickedness is her selfishness and that she’s socially elevated. The quote, “… girls of that class… ” shows the way she looks down on the lower class as if they don’t matter. Her contextual significance is, she might feel more of herself, as women in 1910 had started protesting for the vote. My personal opinion is Priestly presented Mrs. Birling as an individual who has a habit of blanking out others and thinking of people as she likes to think, not as she’s supposed to. Sheila’s character representation is she is caring, sensitive and willing to change her views on capitalism. She is gentle and, in a way, empathic` to others feelings.

    Sheila’s wickedness is her jealousy and use of her wealthy position to punish an innocent member of the working class; Priestley presents this with the quote, “I knew I had her turned out of a job. ” Her weakness is feeling sorry for Eva Smith, as he has a kind and gentle nature. I can see this from the quote “Oh- how horrible! ” Sheila’s contextual significance is the welfare state affected Sheila because she disliked capitalism. My Personal opinion is J. B. Priestley presented Sheila as a warm hearted individual, who cares about others, and is sensitive when it comes to situations such as Eva Smith’s death.

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