J. B. Priestly was born in1894 and left school at 16 to start writing. Sadly though the war broke out and he had to go and serve in infantry. Serving in the infantry was very risky and as a result many people died. J. B Priestly managed to escape with his life and you could say he was quite lucky. He departed from the army in 1921. He went on to study at Cambridge University and accomplished a degree. Without wasting any time he went on to write his first in 1929and his first play in 1933.
He cleverly crafted An Inspector Calls in 1944 but set the play in 1912. His views that have came from the life that he had so far and his political and social ideas come out throughout the play. Priestly introduce the play with some light ironic humour. He uses events that have occurred in the past that the audience knows about but the characters don’t. He can do this because the play is set approximately 3 decades before it was written. A prime example of this is when Mr Birling is making a big speech to Mr Croft and Eric.
Mr Birling says “the Titanic-she sales next week-forty six thousand eight hundred tons…. and every luxury-and unsinkable absolutely unsinkable. The speech would have amused the audience because they knew it had sunk and that Mr Birling sounded so ignorant and stupid. Another thing that makes Mr Birling seem absolutely clueless as to what the future beholds is when he says “…. people say that war is inevitable…. I say-fiddlesticks! The Germans don’t want war,” The audience by now would be laughing at Mr Birling.
His ideas about the future could not have been so wrong! Another aspect of the play that would entertain the audience is the lies and deceit. At first the family think they are innocent and that nothing they could have possibly done to anyone else could influence them to commit suicide. Even after they realise they might have something to do with this terrible affair, they try to hide it. For example Gerald says to Sheila “don’t say anything to the inspector”. After he hears the woman’s name that he has just had an affair with.
The penny seems to drop with Sheila early on and realises that the inspector knows more than he is letting on. Sheila also said to her mother don’t “build a wall” between you and the inspector because it will only be worse when he tears it down. As the play unravels, more deception and more untruths come out of every member of the family. The family start to look at each other in a new light. The example of Mr Croft and Sheila at the start of the play they are both happy and looking forward to marriage. When the truth comes out about what Gerald had been up to this summer.
The wedding appears to be off and Sheila gives back the ring. In twined with the play are J. B Priestly’s political views. He cleverly gets his views across through the characters and their attitudes. He can influence your opinion with you even realising it. He does this by getting the reader to takes sides without even realising it. There are two sides to this story; Mr and Mrs Birling and Mr Croft these are the older generation and there views are that people should keep to there own business and that their lives do not effect others.
Then there is the younger generation that includes Sheila, Eric and the Inspector they all share the views that there lives can effect others and that it is up to them to help others like the “Eva Smiths and John Smiths of this world” as said by the inspector. Now most people would side with the younger generation because it the logical decision due to the fact that Mr Birling has been proved wrong in his views of the future so why not of his views about society.
This is also good point in sustaining the audience because if you build an opinion then you are involved with the play and your interest will be sustained. We can see that J. B Priestly’s was successful in his purpose, which was to entertain the audience and put forward his political views on society. We can see how successful he was by the fact that the play was so popular that it was even made into a top film with some of the best actors of that time. To the extent of his political views they reached more people through his play than if he had tried to do get them across in another way.