J.B. Priestley's Play "An Inspector Calls"

J.B. Priestley's Play "An Inspector Calls"

Length: 851 words (2.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
J.B. Priestley's Play "An Inspector Calls"


"Why shouldn't they try for higher wages? We try for the highest
possible prices. And I don't see why she should have been sacked".
Eric to Mr Birling says this. Eric is drawing a comparison between the
Upper class owners, and the lower class workers. Eric can see the
comparison between Mr Birling trying to do the best for him, and the
workers doing the same for themselves and their families. Mr Birling
won't allow these sentiments, however, and sees them as a bad
attitude. One can assume that this attitude is a general reflection of
the attitudes held by older generation of the upper classes in 1912 as
portrayed in 'An Inspector Calls', when it is set, with Mr and Mrs
Birling representing the older generation of the upper class. 'An
Inspector Calls' is primarily focused on he attitudes surrounding the
higher classes in 1912, and how these attitudes can lead to actions
with potentially devastating consequences. The attitudes are
particularly aimed at women, especially those of working class status.

In the play women are portrayed as second class citizens, after men.
However the difference (e.g. in independence) between upper class men
and women is greater than that of working class men and women. Many
women living alone and supporting themselves (for example by working
in factories- like Mr Birling's) and their families demonstrate this,
whereas the upper class women are totally dependent on their husbands
for money and accommodation. The play shows that the treatment of
working class women is degrading. For example it portrays the
assumptions that the working class women who are jobless are quite
willing to turn to prostitution. "Have you any idea what happened to
her after that? Get into trouble? Go on the streets?" Mr Birling
assumes that working class woman, like Eva Smith, get into trouble
regularly, and if they are fired, they turn to prostitution quickly.
This shows that the attitudes are totally different between upper
class and working class women. Working class women are seen as easy
virtue, and whores, whilst the upper class 'virgin maidens' are almost
untouchable in their purity. The upper class girls are treated with
respect, and are on the whole protected. "I think you ought to go to
bed now, and forget this absurd business" Mr and Mrs Birling want to
protect Sheila from the horrors of affairs. However in the Edwardian
society there were upper class men, who were abusive, and over
domineering. For example Alderman Meggarty who tried to harass not
only Eva Smith (who was working class) but a girl that Sheila knew,
who must be upper class, because Sheila would only socialise in upper

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"J.B. Priestley's Play "An Inspector Calls"." 123HelpMe.com. 08 Dec 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=102679>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

J.B. Priestley's Play "An Inspector Calls" Essay

- J.B. Priestley's Play "An Inspector Calls" "Why shouldn't they try for higher wages. We try for the highest possible prices. And I don't see why she should have been sacked". Eric to Mr Birling says this. Eric is drawing a comparison between the Upper class owners, and the lower class workers. Eric can see the comparison between Mr Birling trying to do the best for him, and the workers doing the same for themselves and their families. Mr Birling won't allow these sentiments, however, and sees them as a bad attitude....   [tags: Priestley Inspector Calls Essays]

Free Essays
851 words (2.4 pages)

Essay about An Inspector Calls - J. B. Priestley's Morality Play

- The Play ‘An Inspector Calls’ is a modern morality play, created by J. B. Priestley. A morality play is a play that is designed to teach the audience the difference between right and wrong; the morality of this play is a Christian and socialist morality. The play encapsulates on the Christian religious morality that you should treat people the way you want to be treated to ‘love thy neighbour as thy self’. J. B. Priestley was a socialist who believed that everyone was created equally and should be treated equally....   [tags: Inspector Calls, J. B. Priestly]

Research Papers
2307 words (6.6 pages)

Dramatic Devices Involving the Audience in J. B. Priestley’s Play, ‘An Inspector Calls'

- John Boynton Priestley’s play, ‘An Inspector Calls’, fits into the genre of drama and detective and is also a morality play. It uses many dramatic devices such as the language he uses, the symbolism used in the play, and the stage directions. Using these, Priestley aims to subtly, or less subtly in some instances, (such as Birling’s Titanic speech) win over the audience’s favour. One example is the way he plays on the two characters of Inspector Goole and Birling, the Capitalist, to make Birling appear as the antagonist or ‘bad guy’ as a result....   [tags: J. B. Priestley, Inspector Calls, Audience, ]

Research Papers
622 words (1.8 pages)

The Purpose of the Inspector in the Play An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley

- The Purpose of the Inspector in the Play An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley An inspector calls is written by J.B Priestley and is about a prosperous manufacturer named Arthur Birling. In the early years of last century, he is holding a family dinner party to celebrate his daughter's engagement. Into this cosy and happy scene intrudes a police inspector called Inspector Goole. He is apparently investigating the suicide of a young working class woman and under the pressure of his interrogation every member of the family turns out to have a shameful secret that links them to her death....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
614 words (1.8 pages)

The Function of the Inspector in the Play An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley

- The Function of the Inspector in the Play An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley The Inspector is the backbone of the play and orchestrates the entire storyline. He is described on his entrance as creating 'an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness.' symbolising the fact that he is an unstoppable force within the play. His 'disconcerting habit of looking hard at the person he addresses before speaking' gives the impression that he sees through surface appearances to the real person beneath....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
1026 words (2.9 pages)

The Function of Inspector Goole in the Play An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley

- The Function of Inspector Goole in the Play An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley In this essay I am going to discuss the function of Inspector Goole in the play and how J. B Priestley used the Inspector to bring out his messages regarding social responsibility. 'An Inspector Calls was written in 1945, just after the Second World War. It is set on a spring evening in 1912, part of the Edwardian era. The play was written by John Boynton Priestley who was a socialite'. Throughout the end of the play the question is left in the mind of the audience, 'Who is the Inspector'....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
1752 words (5 pages)

An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley Essays

- An Inspector Calls is a dramatic and entertaining play written by J.B. Priestley in 1945. An Inspector Calls is a story about how a person’s actions can be responsible for someone’s life. The play has a character that is called Inspector Goole. He arrives at a rich, upper class family’s house for interrogation. Although the play was written in 1945, it was set in 1912. What is Priestley trying to convey by setting the play before the World War One. Through my essay I will elaborate my reasons on the Inspector’s role in the play....   [tags: Play Review]

Research Papers
650 words (1.9 pages)

Essay on J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls

- J.B. Priestley's "An Inspector Calls" "An Inspector Calls" is a politics based detective play script written by John Bonyton Priestley, or better know as J.B Priestley. The play takes place in the wealthy Birtling's family dining room, a room of which has "good solid furniture of the period", "the general effect is substantial and heavily comfortable but not cosy and homelike." The family are celebrating their daughters engagement to Mr Gerald Croft, an upper class man, as are the Birling's in the play....   [tags: Priestley Inspector Calls Essays]

Research Papers
954 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on J.B. Priestley's "An Inspector Calls"

- J.B. Priestley's "An Inspector Calls" The play is set at the turn of the century and is centred on a wealthy family who are successful and prosperous at a time of poverty for many. They are oblivious to this, and given the fact that the play was written many years later the play contains much irony about the future, but not only does it make it question our history but also our future. The inspector is portrayed as being the champion of socialism, he is there to symbolise Priestley’s views. Essentially Priestley uses biased representations of capitalism, and socialism, reflected with Birling, and inspector Goole, to prepare the reader for his conclusive message....   [tags: Priestley Inspector Calls Essays]

Free Essays
2240 words (6.4 pages)

Essay on An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley

- "An Inspector Calls" by J.B. Priestley The play ‘An Inspector Calls’ was written in 1945, which was just at the end of the Second World War. The play is set in 1912, just before the First World War. The play was set at this particular time so that J.B. Priestley could get his message across more clearly. The message was that we all have to take responsibility for our actions, which can have consequences. Another reason why this may be a ‘well made’ play is that J.B. Priestley gives hints to the audience at the beginning, which builds up excitement and interest....   [tags: Inspector Calls J.B. Priestley Essays]

Research Papers
1974 words (5.6 pages)

class circles. "A girl I know had to see him in the town hall, and she
only escaped with a torn blouse." Upper class men look down on working
class women, who actually are prostitutes. This demonstrates the
double standards revolving in the play, because though the men look
down on prostitutes, and see them as disgusting, the still go to them.
Women are not expected to think about business at all, nor have any
interests apart from shopping, gossiping and probably needlework. "Now
Sheila you'll realize that men with important work to do sometimes
have to spend nearly al their time and energy on their business". Mrs
Birling told Sheila that men do the work, and are the bread winners,
leaving their wives alone, as if to prove that women can't think about
business at all.

Mr and Mrs Birling treat Sheila as if she was a child, of about twelve
years old, though she is old enough to be getting married. She is
constantly being talked about as if she isn't there, and is told what
she feels. "She's had a long, exciting and tiring day and now she's
obviously had as much as she can stand". Gerald told the inspector
what Sheila was feeling, and why her behaviour was the way it was.
This is perhaps reflective of how the men had all the knowledge of
everything to do with them, including the feelings of their wives, or
fiances. This portrays that women not only couldn't think about
business, but also couldn't express their feelings. Mr Birling thought
that Eric was a good boy, and she also treated him as if he were a
child. She obviously didn't know her son well at all and this is also
reflective of what upper class mothers would think of their sons.
"Besides, you're not the type- you don't get drunk" Mrs Birling is
treating her son like a child, and assuming that he still is a child,
and instead of drinking alcohol, he is still playing musical chairs.
Gerald shocks, again, Mrs Birling, by revealing his secret affair to
the inspector. Mrs Birling is totally shocked, whereas Mr Birling,
though taken aback, isn't as shocked by the upper class young men's
behaviour. This shows that the older generation women of the upper
class are more trusting in the men's behaviour, and assume that they
have stronger morals, than they actually do.
Return to 123HelpMe.com