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An Inspector Calls - Essay 15

  • Date Submitted: 05/31/2011 03:02 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 52.8 
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"An Inspector Calls" by John Boynton Priestley is an ingenious play, which illustrates a progression from ignorance to knowledge for not only the audience but the characters also. "An Inspector Calls" was written in 1945, but it is set in 1912, it shows at that time the society of England was split into huge social divisions and distinctions through the Birling family, the wealth of the Birling family in comparison to how poor Eva Smith was showed this. As the Inspector says "there are a lot of young women living in that sort of existence in every city and big town in this country." This shows the audience that Eva Smiths case was probably not rare, that there are many other young women in the same predicament she was in.

An Inspector Calls is set in 1912, before the beginning of the First World War, but was written during the winter of 1944/45, first reaching the stage in 1945, the year in which the Second World War ended. For director Stephen Daldry the play’s campaigning passion is inextricably linked to the new spirit of post-war optimism. He believes that 1945 is “probably the most crucial period in domestic British politics this century” - a time when people were asking,“Do we want to go back to the Edwardian period or to create something vital and new, a romantic vision of the future?”.
Priestley’s choice of a pre-war Edwardian setting was therefore a calculated attempt to draw a parallel between the experiences of the two world wars. “Priestley felt strongly that there’s no point in fighting another war simply to maintain the status quo: the point of this social upheaval is that some good must come of this. We should fight for a better society, not simply demonise the Germans as though badness and selfishness is something that only exists in Germany.”
The 1945 play may have been set in the past but its purpose was to look to the future, arguing strongly for a more positive society. Tony Benn MP believes that Priestley “consciously intended to make [An...


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