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An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley

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An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley

An inspector calls was written by a socialist writer. J.B.Priestley

who was a well respected playwright and radio broadcaster. He had

written a number of plays, including ’They came to the city’ (1943)

and ’Desert Highway’ (1944). The first production of An Inspector

Calls was in 1946, when theatres were still very popular, despite

competition from cinemas. During the war the theatres were closed

during air raids. In 1944, just before the first premier of the play,

the theatres were reopened. John Baynton Priestly had a very popular

radio show during the war. Priestly based his play, ’An Inspector

Calls’ on his socialist views. He thought that the class system was

unfair. He thought that society should be classless with everyone

treated evenly and fairly. He thought that all people are responsible

for each other. Priestley wrote the play when the workingman wanted a

change, he didn’t want capitalism anymore. They wanted what the Labour

party offered: free health service and a much better life style, after

the Second World War. Conservatives lost to a landslide victory to

labour. The U.K. went socialist.

Priestley set the play in 1912 for a 1946 audience because he wanted

to show the Edwardian society was still very hierarchical and if we

didn’t change the rigid class system, a third world war would happen.

He didn’t set the play in 1945 because it was before the world war

when the class system was still very rigid. The audience of 1946 would

have experienced the horrors of the first and second world wars. They

would have still remembered the empty promises that were made after

the First World...

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... yourselves out

nicely, but I can’t’, it shows that Eric cannot ignore what he did. A

life means more to him and Shelia than money and class.

Birling says ‘Now look at the famous younger generation who know it

all. And they can’t even take a joke’. It shows the difference between

the older and younger generations. The older generations are stuck in

their ways, not wanting to learn, where as the younger generation are

willing to learn. The younger generation pay older mistakes in the

war.

Some of priestly’s concerns are still relevant today, but the society

is a lot fairer. The class system is not as rigid and people can

change classes easier. One of Priestly’s concerns, which are still

relevant, is sexism. Males and Females are still being treated

differently but not as bad as in the play, ‘An Inspector Calls’.
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