Priestley's Use of Characters to Send a Political and Social Message to the Audience in An Inspector Calls

Priestley's Use of Characters to Send a Political and Social Message to the Audience in An Inspector Calls

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Priestley's Use of Characters to Send a Political and Social Message to the Audience in An Inspector Calls

J B Priestly (1894-1984) wrote An Inspector Calls in 1945, right after
the Second World War. The main reason that the play was written was to
give the audience of his time a social and political message. The play
is set in the fictitious North Midlands industrial city of Brumley in
1912. He wrote the play to give his audience a social and political
message. John Boynton Priestly was one of the most popular, versatile
and prolific authors of his day. Though he may not have produced an
unquestioned masterpiece, his work in many fields of literature and
thought, written from the 1920s to his death, is still highly valued.
The best known of his sixteen novels, The Good Companions (1929),
which has been adapted for stage, film and television, or Literature
and Western Man (1960) which shows his works of popular history and
literacy criticism are numerous.

However, it was as a playwright and as a political and social think
that Priestly was as especially important and certainly these two
aspects of Priestly are what matter most in An Inspector Calls.
Politically Priestly was a patriotic socialist whose love of his
country could appear nostalgic, but was passionately convinced of the
need for social change to benefit the poor. This is shown by the fact
that he was proud of his grandparents being mill workers. During the
Second World War his weekly broadcasts were highly influential and
expressed his faith in the ordinary people of Britain. In the last
year of the war Priestly was writing An Inspector Calls, which he saw
as a cont...


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...or is present, nobody challenges his version of events.

Those characters that resist telling the Inspector the truth suffer
more than those who are open. The Inspector says to Gerald:

"…If you're easy with me, I'm easy with you'.

Notice that he deliberately tries to stop Sheila from blaming herself
too much. How ever, he begins to lose patients with Mr Birling:

"Don't stammer and yammer at me again, man. I'm losing all the
patience with you people'.

The Inspector is harshest with Mrs Birling because she resists the
truth:

"I think you did something terribly wrong…"

He does not do this because of prejudice, as you see he persuaded all
the characters to reveal things, which they would have rather not
known, or the truth but some of the characters took this for granted
so they got what they gave.

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