"An Inspector Calls": How does Priestly introduce the theme of responsibility to the audience in Act 1 of An Inspector calls?

Topics: Inspector Clouseau, Audience theory, Audience Pages: 5 (1712 words) Published: March 14, 2007
OpeningThe style of Prestlies play seems at a first glance to be that of a straightforward, detective thriller, but as the inspector arrives with announcement of Eva smiths death, and the involvement of each members of the family is progressively established. The structure becomes that of a wodnut, with the inspector slowly unraveling the history of Eva Smith. The audiences interest is sustained not only by progressively revelations but their desire to find out whom ultimately, was responsible for driving Eva smith to suicide.

Paragraph 1During the 1930's Priestley became very concerned about the consequences of social inequality in Britain, and in 1942 Priestley and some others set up a new political party, the Common Wealth Party that argued for public ownership of land, greater democracy, and a new "morality" in politics. The party merged with the Labour Party in 1945, but Priestley was influential in developing the idea of the Welfare State, which began to be put into place at the end of the war.

He believed that further world wars could only be avoided through cooperation and mutual respect between countries, and so became active in the early movement for a United Nations. And as the nuclear arms race between West and East began in the 1950s, he helped to found CND, hoping that Britain would set an example to the world by a moral act of nuclear disarmament. These ideas are reflected in the play especially through inspector Gooles character who I believe priestly created to influence his view through the character.

Paragraph 2Birlings speech and the inspectors speech both show a totally different few on how to behave and treat people in society. Birlings opening speech is about his impending knighthood and about how "a man has to look after himself and his own." Birling thinks that a man should look after himself and no one else, hence why he takes no responsibility in his actions towards Eva smiths death. He straightaway comes across as the person who will only do something, if hes going to get something out of it. Gooles is clearly different to that of Birling. Unlike Birling he understands the importance of a joined society and believes that everyone should be treated equally whoever they are. He could even be seen as a God like figure, as he preaches the same kind of quotes, as the bible; love your neighbour like your brother.

Paragraph 3The character of the inspector Goole is the catalyst for the evening events he creates an impression of mysteriousness, massiveness, solidity and purposefulness. No one knows whether he was a realistic straightforward inspector, was he a hoaxer, or maybe something more and if so, what. Even though I dont know Priestlys full intentions of the character, I think perhaps he wanted Goole to be careful and weight full so he could put his political ideas across to the audience and by using such an intelligent character the audience are more likely to take in and act upon what the inspector says.

The inspectors character works very systematically; he likes to deal with one person and one line of enquiry at a time. His method is to confront a suspect with a piece of information and then make them talk or, as Sheila puts it, Hes giving us the rope, so we can hang ourselves.Paragraph 4Birlings character is rather portentous. He quotes a man has to make his own way, he has to look after himself, this short speech highlights Birlings selfish personality, which also reflects on how he handles his business and himself in society. I.e, his greed for money, power, authority, knowledge and respect. Birling is to believe that he has all these things and therefore feels more superior then others; such as Eva Smith. Therefore he doesnt see any reason why he should possibly take the blame for her suicide. I told the girl to clear out, and she went. Thats the last I heard from her, Birling cant see how sacking a girl because she caused an uproar could lead her to a suicide, he just...
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