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Discuss the Role of the Inspector in Priestly’s ’an Inspector Calls’.

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Discuss the Role of the Inspector in Priestly’s ’an Inspector Calls’.

An Inspector Calls

‘An Inspector Calls’ remains as popular as the day it was written. This long running popularity is accounted for by the dramatic themes and the direct involvement of the readers. The play challenges us to review our own conscience and the intriguing genre and mysterious person of the Inspector makes this play a popular, entertaining and insightful outlook of social conscience and responsibility.

The crucial fact that leads to the popularity of the play is responsibility. We see the clear difference between the ‘upper’ and ‘lower’ classes; the ‘upper’ social class have power and influence over the lower classes. We are lead to believe that this idea of power should be used with care. ‘An Inspector Calls’ involves the reader, we are forced to examine our own conscience of what is right and wrong, “We don’t live alone,” and if we abuse our power then the result will be “taught in fire and blood”. The actual idea of responsibility is the central theme in ‘An Inspector Calls’ this idea has lead to the popularity of the play, as our views on responsibility are represented by each character. Mr Birling representing those who only “look after himself [Mr Birling]”.

Through this idea Priestly show us that “we are responsible for each other’’ Birling is proven wrong, responsibility is proven to be a central part to all our lives. The popularity of the play is emphasised through the idea of how being “responsible for each other” should always play a part in our lives as “we are members of one body”, regardless of when ‘An Inspector Calls’ was written the idea stays the same and therefore the play continues to stay popular.

The dramatic tension throughout ‘An Inspector Calls’ keeps the reader’s undivided attention. This tension is sustained throughout the play, reaching its peak with the final telephone call. Predictability is avoided and the audience tends to feels the emotions, of each opposing group. We hear of the relief felt by Mr Birling and the rest of the family. However, as complacency starts to set in again, the telephone rings and the audience feels justice has been served as “a police inspector is on his way…” Through the ending of the play the unpredicted telephone call, brings much-needed comeuppance. The readers feel satisfaction through the final ending proves a satisfying climax to the dramatic tension sustained throughout. Due to this the play remains successful.

This clever use of structure and dramatic tension involves the reader. We share the pain and relief of the family and through this direct involvement the play is remains popular.

Women and sex tend to lead the play to popularity. Although most of the stereotype views of women are now no longer held. There seems to be a clear parallel between the idea of the idealised Victorian and the mentality some people hold today; that an ‘upper’ class woman should not work, or do only charitable work eg Mrs Birling, but a girl from a ‘lower’ class should work for the rich e.g. Eva smith. Some people still in our society tend to hold this stereotyped view. These pre-judgements are still relevant to our time. Therefore the play relates to every person in the audience and through the confrontation of this stereotype the play remains popular.

The idea of sex and the ‘Angel Hoare’ dichotomy is still prevalent in our society, as much as it was In Priestly’s time. This notion of sex and hypocrisy still exists today; that a man can have pre-marital sex but a woman cannot. This makes the play relevant to our generation. The play challenges our own stereotypes; because of this the audience is intrigued and involved in the play. Therefore the play remains popular.

Another theme relating to responsibility in the play is the idea of guilt. Human nature tends to dictate the idea of how some tend to deny an experience, while others accept their mistakes and try to learn from it. This relates to the characters in the play. Eric and Sheila represent those who accept that “we (Eric and Sheila) all helped to kill her.” However, Mr Birling represents those who repress guilt, “community” and feeling responsible and guilty for the suicide is “nonsense” in Mr Birling’s view. In this way the play becomes successful. The audience’s conscience is examined. The audience are forced to think whether they would accept their guilt or deny it.

The theme, that is as true today as when it was written, is that of the conflict between the rich and poor. Mr Birling represents the harsh capitalist view, “who came down sharply on” “these people.” The Inspector breaks down these views, as each character is inspected. The audience is entertained by the idea

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