“An Inspector Calls”, by J.B Priestley, deals with social conflict upon so many levels. On the surface it is a simple tale of how one man changes the moral perceptions of an upper-class family, but when seen in a different light, is much more. Priestley has used a simple domestic setting as a masquerade; to portray in short, the effect of unjust power usage and the amount of destruction brought about by discriminative ethics. – These morals are extremely relevant in many situations today, and have been used to try and show how life should change – aiming to get it to a point where all people have equal rights and opportunities within a system that is fair and just.Order now
The sole character used within “An Inspector Calls” to directly channel this message across, is that of Inspector Goole. He has been used as Priestley’s puppet, to challenge the figures with political authority and do so, with the backing of a truly ‘socialist’ opinion. Priestley has enabled the Inspector to do this through four ‘dramatic functions’ he has given him within the play. In this essay, I will explore these ‘dramatic functions’ and specifically his roles as a protagonist, narrator, social commentator and educator. – All of these positions, used to draw a specific reaction from the audience, and in this Essay, I will explore just how.
Paragraph 2 – Information about Priestley and the background of the play – 1st Re-draft Priestley, the author of “An Inspector Calls” was born and raised in Bradford, among the harsh conditions of the Industrial exploitation. – Although he himself was never a direct target of the discrimination endured at this time, as a child he bore witness to many incidents where social hatred was an issue and so, became very conscious of the existing class unfairness within society of that time. Over the years, many events of class oppression piled upon his life, thus causing his social perspective to alter completely. – His many experiences, proving his loyalties to lie very much in the ‘Socialist’ way of thinking, rather than conforming to the capitalist system that controlled England at the time and still prevails today.
Priestley’s most life-affecting encounter with social unfairness was during his service in the First World War. Throughout this horrific conflict, Priestley saw how definite the class system separated troops and how often non-experienced, high-class men, were the causes of much blood and anguish. Priestley noticed this most during his climb through the ranks, as he slowly earned the right to become officer. This he did with allot of effort and strife, whilst others of high society around him were immediately placed in superior positions above. – This prejudice was understandably unfair for him to endure, but also extremely frustrating, as he saw these unqualified ‘leaders’ jeopardise the lives of all those under command, in many situations he could have easily handled.
After the War, Priestley attended Cambridge University as an Officer and in the name of the Army, he received a B.A. This opportunity gained him ample time to research much deeper into the scandals of Capitalism and ground himself into a place of society’s elite, where he felt he could finally make a difference. – With his education in hand, he started to work as a journalist and began to reel off essay by essay; each with the same underlying morals of a corrupt society that must change. Through this, he managed to build a bridge between the public and himself, as many saw his voice as a patriotic symbol of a free, equal Country.
The relationship Priestley had founded with the public grew and grew, but was perhaps most enforced when the Second World War broke out. – Instead of going to fight, Priestley stayed home and was employed as a radio commentator, delivering information about the War’s status across to the public. This secured him respect and trust from everyone in the country, thus allowing him to briefly share his beliefs across, with the knowledge that they were causing great effect among all. He was placed as an icon of reformation, and along with the occupational benefit of free speech, he wrote many plays and novels to back up his opinion with.
Priestley wrote “An Inspector Calls” as a part of his campaign against class-prejudice. The play stood out as one of the World’s most profound works of Political Theatre and was sure to transform lives through it’s subtle front of a middle class household. Priestley’s beliefs ran all through the play’s core and due to the unique characterisation of the Inspector, they were finally allowed to disperse in true form. The Inspector’s character, ultimately acting as Priestley’s device, enabled him to deliver his opinion across, with all the authority needed to finally transform a twisted society.