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The play was written in 1945 but surprisingly, J. B. Priestley decided to set it in 1912, as capitalism is the strongest before the war and poor people have to rely on charities; due to the class system. Priestley is trying to convey to the audience a message that we are all equal and we have to look after each other in order to survive. He gave us a clue before he departed, he said if we don’t learn it now, we will have to learn it in ‘fire, blood and anguish’. This is a hint to us for what is going to happen in the future, this is also dramatic irony as we knew the ‘fire and blood’ is from the soon coming war.
Dramatic Irony is also used again when Mr Birling said ‘the Titanic – she sails next week – forty six thousand eight hundred tons – forty six thousand eight hundred tons – New York in five days – and every luxury – and unsinkable’ The truth is the Titanic has sinked, and as a audience we know this whilst the narrator or the characters don’t. Also, by repeating the weight of the ship we can interpret that Mr Birling is extremely proud of his country and this new ship, during that time, this is common as many people are nationalists then.
In 1945, much of the capitalism and class discrimination has gone because of the war, and because we know this it’s emphasis the proud and great feeling Mr Birling has for his country. The play begins as a simple and thrilling detective play, but it unfolds eventually. Due to the crimes and the responsibility the characters learnt to take, the plays unfolds into a mortality play and teaches us something. This is the struggle of Good and Evil.
The Inspector reflects Priestley’s ideas and thoughts and voice them out, Priestly himself is a socialist even before he has fought in the two major world wars and realises the importance of everyone and life. At the end of the play, the Inspectors final comment warns Mr Birling,because of his nature, the Inspector wanted him to change and to respect everyone and treat them equally. The name Goole – Inspector Goole – sounds mysterious and a bit sinister, this is supported by the fact he seems to know a wide variety of things and all these knowledge and understanding is the truth, which makes it even more sinister.