Learning from your errors is another lesson which is commonly taught and further emphasised with Priestley’s portrayal of Sheila. Soon after expressing her traumatic feeling towards the matter, she vows “I’ll never, never do it again to anybody… ” which presents Sheila’s ability to learn from her mistakes and move on. At the end of Sheila’s confession, the next on the inspectors hit-list is Gerald as he is sprung on suddenly by the inspector.
Gerald appears very defensive about the whole situation and is quite disgusted by the inspector’s claim that this crime has something to do with an upper class family “After all y’know, we’re respectable citizens and not criminals.
” This rather arrogant comment shows that Gerald thinks there is a big and clear difference between the classes, which could be argued as discrimination since an upper class family can be just as likely to commit a crime as a lower class family.
I think this is one of the more prominent aims of Priestly as he is trying to get an important point across to the audience – there isn’t as much difference between classes as you may think.
After Gerald’s exit from the house to collect his thoughts, Eric is the next one who is looked upon. Shortly after the start of the interrogation, Eric is asked to explain the events in which he was involved in. The inspector inquires to why Eva had gone to the palace bar. Eric’s response follows and reveals much about his background “She wasn’t the usual sort…
” Just the start of his response shows that he knows what the “usual sort is” because he spends time at the palace bar regularly.
Furthermore it can be seen that all Eric is trying to do is cover up the fact that Eva is a prostitute. Priestly could be using this to teach the audience that even if you try to cover up your actions, people looking from the outside can easily see what’s behind the curtains and therefore discouraging people from covering their actions up, instead just be truthful and honest.
When the inspector leaves, the family is left to argue between themselves about themselves but an extra twist is put on the story when Gerald comes back from his walk and explains how he found out from a police inspector that there is no such Inspector Goole. Mr and Mrs Birling uses this as an opportunity to push all that’s gone by away and forget it but the younger generation realise this is wrong, they realise exactly what the older generation don’t.
When Mr Birling laughs off the experience as just a joke, Eric and Sheila are quick to stop their parents from over looking the lessons which must be learnt. They don’t care whether it was a joke or not since everyone was involved in making a girl unhappy whether it was the same girl or not. Eric clearly points this out when he expresses his sadness for the girl he knew “It doesn’t matter. The girl I knew is dead.
” Priestley has maintained this lesson that he wants the audience to learn that even young people such as Eric and Sheila, can still understand things that older people should already know. In the end I think the main aim from Priestly comes from the inspector. The inspector plays a hugely influential role in the play as he holds many lessons that Priestley hopes to get across to the audience. Priestley tries to convince people that we are working as one community where people help each other and live closely as a unit.
The Inspector explains how “We don’t live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other” and I think this is effective to both a modern and 1945 audience since both time periods have recently or are experiencing war. This shows how people should stick together through the hard times and support each other when people are in need. I think Priestley’s most important aim is when he tries to get people thinking about their actions and what may result of them.
This is done effectively as the play revolves around a “chain of events” where one event leads to another and in more cases than not, fuels the problems beyond repair. This point is very relevant to any audience, past or present as it applies to everyday life all the time. It is also a lesson taught by many people to the younger generation. Furthermore, quite a lot of the minor aims are linked to acknowledging your actions and learning from consequences and therefore adds to the main aim of thinking about your actions.
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