An Inspector Calls is writing by J. B. Priestly and was published in 1946. The play is set in 1912 and is about how the upper classed people treated the lower/working class people. Priestly has written more than 20 plays and is said to be a theatrical entrepreneur. His full name is John Boynton Priestly and he was born in Bradford, Yorkshire on 13 September 1894. The name Priestly gives Inspector Goole is really an awful pun.
In that respect, it might as well be seen as contributing a threat to his serious intention. Priestly makes him an impressive man who dominates proceedings. However, there is a subtly about him. He is there as the conscience of the rest, and there is an insistence from him on moral vows. A quote telling me this is, “We don’t live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will soon come when, if men will not learn that lesson, they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish.” This gives the impression that the Inspector is a catalyst, effective in changing others whilst needing no change in himself. The quote above I think is trying to make the Birling family feel guilty and to confess what they have done.
Priestly has giving the impression of Mr Birling as being pompous and self-centred. He has practical views and takes pride in himself. Shelia Birling on the other hand stands in the play as being the most significant exemplar of virtue. Yet at the beginning of the play we find her to be rather spoilt and the centre of attention. Towards the end of the play though, she makes the moral points. “I tell you, whoever that Inspector was, it was way 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 ways.” This quote is Sheila trying to bring home to her parents and her the meaning of the Inspectors message. She is saying that her family, the Birlings and Gerald’s attitude changed during the Inspectors visit but since he’s gone they are ready to go back to their same, stuck up, selfish ways.
At the beginning of the play, the Birling family and Gerald are all on stage to show they are one family. The lighting is pink and intimate which shows the audience that they are happy and quite carefree. But when the Inspector enters the lighting changes. It becomes brighter and harder. This makes it more dramatic. It shakes the audience out of their expectations of a cosy play. The Inspectors entrance is dramatic as before he enters Mr Birling is giving some advice to Gerald and Eric. A Quote telling me this is, ‘… that man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own – and -‘ This quote is telling me that Mr Birling is telling Gerald and Eric to look after themselves, their business and their family, nobody else. The Inspectors entrance is made dramatic because he comes to prove them wrong.
Through out the play the Inspector goes through each individual character under covering what they had each done to make Eva Smith commit suicide. He was in charge. Priestly makes him an impressive man who dominates proceedings. He has to interrupted flows of conversation massively. A quote telling me this is, ‘Gerald – … I don’t see why – Inspector – Never mind that. You can settle this afterwards. (To Sheila) What happened?’ This quote is telling me that the Inspector likes to concentrate on one person at a time. If something is unnecessary then he doesn’t want to no.
None of these characters have committed a crime but they all come to feel themselves as murders. At the beginning of act three, Eric confesses that he’d slept with Eva Smith and the Inspector leaves. His exit is dramatic as he walks straight out leaving them starring and speechless. The Inspector has achieved his objections. Towards the end of the play after the Inspector leaves we find out that there was no Inspector and no dead girl. A quote from Mr Birling is, ‘Well here’s to use. Come on Shelia, don’t look like that. It’s all over now.’ This is telling me they are ready to forget the whole thing.
Right at the end the telephone rings. It’s the police saying a girl has died and a police Inspector is on his way. I think Priestly has added this to imply that in some way this girl died because they have not learnt their lesson.