An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley

An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley
An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley I am going to explore how J.B Priestley expresses his ideas and concerns about society through the characters Mr. Birling and Inspector Goole in ?An Inspector Calls?. Priestley?s Ideas and concerns were similar to Dickens?s in "A Christmas Carol", they both had concerns that the rich were not looking after the poor and that they were not taking responsibilities for their own effect on those less fortunate. They both stress the idea that the poor should be given a helping hand to get their own money, not just be punished for being poor because that doesn?t help. J.B Priestley set the play in 1912 because so much had happen between the period he had set the play and written it (1945), which meant that the audience would be knowledgeable about the time and he could then use dramatic irony very effectively. Dramatic irony is where the audience has knowledge that gives additional meaning to a characters words, Priestley uses this technique with the character Mr Birling to show that he didn?t have a clue about what he was talking about like other rich people of the time. Mr Birling says "the Titanicâ??unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable" the Titanic sunk on its maiden voyage. As the audience knew this fact, and as the audience will know they realized Mr Birling was wrong so this causes dramatic irony.
He also talks about WW1 "just because the Kaiser makes a speech or two, or a few German officers have too much to drink and begin to talk nonsense, you?ll hear some people say that war is inevitable. And to that I say ? fiddlesticks!" and of cause the war did happened, well two wars happened between 1912 and 1945. Birling also says the workers won?t revolt and the labour party will never grow and again he is wrong. The effect of using dramatic irony to make Mr Birling look ignorant even though he is financially successful is to show that even thought some people maybe be rich doesn?t mean they now more about life than the average Joe. Priestley goes back in time a time when of confidence (1912) to show how a fair and just society depends upon compassion and responsibility for our fellow citizens. This is a period piece of drama dealing with domineering business men and local politicians whose weaknesses and failings of character are exposed. Priestley was an author, playwright and political and social thinker, as he was a patriotic socialist who was convinced of the need for social change to benefit the poor. This made good criteria for a good writer and he was one of the most popular and versatile author of his day. J.B Priestley?s views are shown through Inspector Goole because Priestley needed a way to get his views about society to the audience and by using a character(Inspector Goole) it is clearer for the audience to understand his views which were that the rich should think about others not just themselves. J.B Priestley uses Mr Birling as a stereotype for the rich to show that it was a time for a change, it was stereotypical for the rich to not help the poor at be heartless to them. Mr Birling is portrayed as a hypocritical, callous, heartless, selfish, proud, capitalist, ex-Lord Mayor who had laughable optimistic views. J.B Priestley achieves this by using dramatic irony as mentioned earlier. Birling believes that there is a great importance in social status "Most of this is bound to come out. There?ll be a public scandal." and that he is a breed a-part from the poor, Mr Birling was worried about a public scandal because that would affect his company and his chances of becoming a Knight. If he was to get a knight hood his social status would go up and this means a lot to Mr Birling. Birling uses vocabulary which suggests that he is well educated and of superior intelligence, the rest of the Birling family also use the same vocabulary. However his accent is not that of an aristocrat and therefore we know he?s from more humble beginnings. The play points out the need for a sense of personable responsibility in every member of the society, Birling has the opposite view and the driving concern in his life is self-interest "You! You don?t seem to care about anything. But I care. I was almost certain for a knighthood in the next Honors list" (this was after he found out his son had got a girl pregnant and she had committed suicide). Mr Birling shows here that he only cares about his social status because him not becoming a knight is more important to him that his little grandchild. Inspector Goole was cunning, intelligent, undermining in this example Mr Birling is telling Sheila to do something but the inspector undermines Mr Birling and tell her to do the opposite, "Birling: Nothing to do with you, Sheila. Run along. Inspector: No, wait a minute, Miss Birling" Inspector. Inspector Goole also voices J.B Priestley?s view about the social culture of the country. The Inspector talks carefully and purposefully letting the other characters dig their own hole, he only guides them to say what he wants ?Well, we know one young woman who wasn?t, don?t we?? (Gerald and Sheila then argue together and tell the Inspector about Gerald?s affair). At the end of the play it turns out that the Inspector actually wasn?t an Inspector at all but he could possibly be a ghoul, because the inspector just disappears and Gerald, Mr Birling and Mrs Birling are convinced that it was just a joke "There you are! Proof positive. The whole story?s a just a lot of moonshine" (a moment later the rings and what the inspector had told them had come true). Inspector Goole is Priestly voice in the play and he judges people harshly and is the voice of social conscience. Mr Birling is totally the opposite of Inspector Goole, he is everything Priestley doesn?t like about people in authority. Then Eric and Sheila are what rich people could become if they changed their views, the two Birling siblings quite clearly did that in the play. Priestley?s concerns about society are put through in this play he thinks the rich need to do more to help the poor. He also thinks that people in authority sometimes don?t have a clue about what they?re saying e.g. Mr Birling is shown through the use of dramatic irony. Priestley is also saying that the people in power now might be saying the same sort of things but they could also be wrong and that the public shouldn?t believe everything they hear. Priestley is also stating that things haven?t really changed from 1912 to 1946. J.B Priestley presents his ideas and concerns about society through the characters Mr Birling and Inspector Goole in ?An Inspector Calls?. He does this by using the character Inspector Goole who voices his views and stereotyping Mr Birling and making him look stupid by using props and dramatic irony. I think that the play has some relevance to what is happening in our time, but the world has changed for the better and there are now charities which help the poor. I think the play was a good incite into how some people could and some people still do behave and that some people do need to change their views of the poor. I think we all need to accept responsibilities for our actions as they do affect others and might have dire consequences.

An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley 8.5 of 10 on the basis of 1213 Review.