The Edwardian Era Exposed in An Inspector Calls Essay
1862 Words8 Pages
Written in 1947, J.B. Priestley's didactic murder-mystery, An
Inspector Calls, accentuates the fraudulent Edwardian era in which the play was set. Britain in 1912 was inordinately different to Britain in
1947, where a country annihilated by war was determined to right the wrongs of a society before them.
In 1912 Britain was at the height of Edwardian society, known as the
"Golden Age". A quarter of the globe was coloured red, denoting the vast and powerful Empire and all Britons, no matter what class they belonged to were proud to be British - the "best nation in the world".
Theatres, musicals, proms concerts and films entertained the growing population. The upper classes led such a lavish life of luxury that the Edwardian…show more content…
Priestley believed that the upper classes have wealth and influence and therefore have responsibility for the way in which society is organised. He argues that the upper classes control what happens to the lower classes and that this power must be exercised with care. He is trying to convey to the audience the need for personal responsibility and also responsibility for the way in which our actions affect others.
In the play Priestley explores the diverse aspects of responsibility.
He relates these ideas to the Birling family although the family members are stereotypes representing people at the time. Mr. Birling is ascribed very Capitalist views and believes "A man has to make his own way - has to look after himself." These clearly contrast the views portrayed by the Inspector, Priestley's mouthpiece in the play, which are very socialist. "We don't live alone. We are members of one body - we are responsible for each other." The character Mrs. Birling automatically tries to pass the blame and responsibility of the suicide of Eva Smith onto someone else, willingly creating a scapegoat, "Go and look for the father of the child, it's his responsibility", she tells the Inspector. Although Sheila Birling's views are more socialist she represents the younger generation in society, she is more concerned with fashion, her appearance and family life, rather that the
Essay on ‘An Inspector Calls’ by J.B.Priestley
3562 Words15 Pages
How has watching a production of ‘An Inspector Calls’ by J.B.Priestley enhanced the script and furthered your understanding of the play? Refer to themes and characters in your analysis.
‘An Inspector Calls’ – J.B. Priestley
Twentieth Century Drama Coursework
Task: How has watching a production of ‘An Inspector Calls’ by
J.B.Priestley enhanced the script and furthered your understanding of the play? Refer to themes and characters in your analysis.
Following my reading of ‘An Inspector Calls’ by J.B.Priestely, I went to the theatre to see Daldry’s production. I found that watching the play on stage massively enhanced the script and furthered my…show more content…
Another of Priestley’s aims in writing ‘An Inspector Calls’ was to illustrate the division between the upper and lower classes. When deciding the date that the play would be set in, Priestley obviously thought of a time when this division was more obvious than in 1945 when the play was written. This is why it is set in 1912. This helps Priestley to explain the relationship between the two classes and how the upper class treat the lower class in a less than moral way demonstrating that there is no link between class and morality. By this the audience can see what life was really like for the lower class. This also uncovers the hypocrisy of the upper class and how they put on a respectable front.
Priestley’s character of Mrs.Birling is firmly rooted in the ways of the upper class and how women of the upper class can behave with the power they possess. She is very prejudiced against people of the lower class and believes that class determines moral behaviour and values, which she proves to the audience, do not:
“She was giving herself ridiculous airs. She was claiming elaborate fine feelings and scruples that were simply absurd in a girl in her position.” Priestley clearly saw similarities between the crisis-ridden world of
1912 and the world of 1945 with all its