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An Inspector Calls was written by J. B Priestley in 1945. The play is set in 1912. In England this was a time of strikes, riots and poverty. The play was partly written by Priestley to highlight a number of very important issues in our lives, which include social class, capitalist and social attitude to life, equality, prejudice, wealth, poverty, rights and responsibilities. It is for this reason that the play may be described as an effective piece of social criticism. It criticises the way in which some people live and think, as well as make us question what is right and what is wrong.
The play is a very enjoyable theatrical experience as it is full of excitement, suspense, tension and dramatic irony. In this offer my own opinions and support these with evidence, quotations and examples. It is important to understand what the terms capitalist and socialist mean. Capitalists are people who have power and money. They show their status and wealth. They only care about themselves and don’t care anybody else. Socialists are people who care about everybody not just themselves. They are unselfish and believe in welfare of others.
Above all Priestley uses one of the main characters, Inspector Goole as a strong mouthpiece to represent his own values, morals and beliefs and sends this message to his audience. The message is that people should not be split into different classes or treated differently as all people are off equal importance and have rights and responsibilities, regardless of the amount of money that they have. Priestley uses Inspector Goole to convey this message, stating in act three, page 56 that:- “We are responsible of each other.
And I tell you that the time will soon come when, if men will not learn this lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish. ” This is exactly what happened because in 1914, two years after the play was set, First World War started, this was the result of assassination of Austro-Hungarian heir to throne in Sarajevo by a Serbian student. Income tax doubled to pay for the war which was costing i?? 1million daily. Priestley wants the world to be full of peace, love and forgiveness.
Priestley shows that the Birling family are capitalists and have great wealth in a number of ways. For example their house is described as “The dining-room of a fairly large suburban house, belonging to a prosperous manufacturer. It has good solid furniture of the period. The general effect is substantial and heavily comfortable, but not Cosy and homelike. ” This is evidenced in act one, page 1 at the start of the play. They also have a made called Edna. This shows that they belong to a wealthy family and they can afford a maid.