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An Inspector Calls - Theatre Essay 3

  • Date Submitted: 11/30/2010 11:00 AM
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An Inspector Calls - Theatre Essay
Introduction: This superbly crafted play by J.B Priestly ‘An Inspector Calls’ was written in 1945 and set in 1912. The play was written at the time of the Second World War. The specific setting is as the Titanic is to set sail for America. The world was also thinking about

going to war with Germany for the first time. Life for the poor in 1912 was very insecure.

There was a lack of a Welfare State, which didn’t help the poor. For women it was almost the same they were treated like they did not have a mind of their own and the dominant males controlled them. An example of this from the play is, “Oh- Gerald- you’ve got it- is it the one you wanted me to have?” (Act 1, P. 4)

The play was structured well because it had dramatic and thrilling cliff-hangers one example is at the very end of the play when Mr. Birling receives a phone call form the hospital and he says, “That was the police. A girl had just died on her way to the infirmary- after swallowing some disinfectant”. The play was also set in real time like the classical Greek theatre, they believed a play should be set in real time.

The several themes in the play are: treatment of women, love, jealousy, mystery/secrecy and sinning money/capitalism. To get these themes across to the world and show how 1912 was like in society then was Priestley’s purpose in writing this play.

Section One- The Dinner Party:

The opening scene of the play is in the dining room of the Birling’s house in Brumley, an industrial city in the North Midlands. An evening in spring 1912. Mr. Birling, Mrs. Birling, Sheila, Gerald and Eric are sitting around the dinning table discussing about Gerald and Sheila’s engagement. This suggests that the kind of lifestyle they have is very grand and that they are a close family.

When the inspector arrives it is made dramatic by Mr. Birling asking questions about him and what he’s doing here, “An Inspector? What kind of inspector?” (Act 1, P.7)...


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