J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls

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J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls

J.B. Priestly wrote an Inspector Calls in the winter of 1944-1945 near

the end of the Second World War. It only took him a week to write.

He then sent it to Moscow (because there were no theatres available in

London), where it was performed simultaneously in two theatres in

1945. It was first performed in this country in London on 1st October

1946 at the New Theatre. J.B. Priestly probably sent it to Moscow

because Russia was a communist country (it took socialism to

extremes). It was set in 1912.

The context of the play is when there was the establishment of the

Welfare State, which was a part of socialism where everyone was equal

and had the same opportunities as each other and the same rights as

each other.

When the curtains were opened the audience were quite surprised at the

London production as the stage was set out with the Birlings House

above the stage because all of the Birlings and Gerald are enclosed

into a little house just big enough to stand in. It gives you a great

sense of claustrophobia and makes the audience think that the Birlings

are in their own little world because they are of a higher class than

the people that are wealthy as they have good solid furniture of the

period the play is set in. The general effect is very comfortable but

not cosy and homelike.

The opening of the play is relaxed and the Birlings and Gerald seem to

be celebrating something, they all seem to be self satisfied and

cheerful. The audience expects this to be challenged, but they don’t

know how except that it has got to have something to do with an


Mr Birling is a hea...

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...ey have done to have an effect on someone else’s life (no matter how

little they thought it meant at the time).

I think that the J. B. Priestley also wanted to entertain the audience

by making them think as well as the build up of tension and the

audience’s anticipation as each character began to reveal different

layers of their total character and how their “hidden selves” affected

all the people around them.

Although through the ages, a lot has changed people’s views, there is

still something to be learned from the play and which is to be honest

to yourself, but also treat others with respect, sensitivity and

honesty, especially those worse off than yourself.

I believe J. B. Priestley achieved what we wanted but also managed to

take his audience on a journey of anticipation and tension through out

the play.

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