Priestly felt that the upper classes had strong materialistic beliefs, there is a prime example of Gerald and Sheila with the wedding ring. “Gerald (smiling) Well, perhaps this will help to stop it. (He produces a ring case) Sheila (excited) Oh-Gerald-you’ve got it-is it the one you wanted me to have? Gerald (giving the case to her) Yes-the very one. Sheila (taking out the ring) Oh it’s wonderful! ..(admiring the ring) I think its perfect. Now I really feel engaged. ” This shows objects mean a lot more to the upper class. This is another point Priestly wanted to get across.
Sheila is clearly a member of the upper class but a different generation to Mr and Mrs Birling. When Sheila is in a bad mood at Milwards just because she supposed Eva was laughing at her she threatened never to return and to cancel the account, getting Eva sacked. After the inspector has arrived he changes her view and she admits to everything and is ashamed. She tries to encourage every one else to admit to their actions. Priestly perhaps, felt that the younger upper classes were more accepting of change and would alter the future class system.
“All right. I knew her. Let’s leave it at that. Sheila We can’t leave it like that. ” This shows Sheila pressing Gerald to admit to his actions. Eric is similar to Sheila but very different to everyone else. Although he is still upper class he is young and doesn’t really understand life. His father; Mr Birling tries to explain to him life. “There’s too much at stake these days. Everything to lose and nothing to gain by war. Yes, I know-but still- Let me finish, Eric.” Eric is the ‘one-off; that got Eva pregnant before she went to Mrs Birling’s charity group.
Eva Smith clearly portrays the working class. Eva, or later renamed as Daisy, is the victim of the actions from Mr and Mrs Birling, Gerald, Sheila and Eric. Eva/Daisy is the character the audience sympathise with because of what has been done to her. Priestly strongly believes that one man’s actions have a knock on effect i.e what happens to Eva in ‘inspector calls’ leading her to suicide. He believes that no man is an island, and everyone has a social responsibility. Everything anyone does always effects someone else, whether bad or good, purposely or by accident. I think this true, everything you or I do affects some-one else, so perhaps when you do something you should think of the consequences, not only the obvious ones but the lateral ones too: That way someone’s actions would more often result in good.
Priestly also believes people should admit to their guilt and not deny it. This I think is also true, telling the truth and admitting guilt usually results in less punishment than if you have lied and tried to deny it. What Priestly thinks about the class system I also agree with. All men should be treated equally and rewarded by merit of working hard, rather than being of a higher social class by birth. Just because somebody is richer than an other person it does not mean that they know more or that their opinions are more important. I think that in ‘An Inspector Calls’ J.B Priestly manages to get his thoughts and opinions to his audience through his characters and hopes to change the world he lives in.