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‘An Inspector Calls’ is a classic play written by J B Priestly shortly before World War II ended. The play however, is set in 1912, which is shortly before the First World War. The play is set in an industrial city in the Midlands of 1912 concerns a wealthy industrialist Arthur Birling, the fianci?? Gerald Croft, The Birling family and an Inspector. It shows how the family each help to destroy a young woman’s life – Eva Smith through their selfish and callous attitudes, which results in her death.
The play takes place in the Birling’s dining room where the family are celebrating the engagement of Sheila to Mr Gerald Croft. The dining room is the setting in which the whole play takes place in. As the play takes place in one place only the effects can be later seen within the play and dramatised versions as it creates a sense of Claustrophobia amongst audiences as the play becomes more intense later on when the inspector arrives. Arthur Birling believed he was a fair employer paying only what he had to and no more.
If asked for a raise he would say it was his duty to keep costs low and prices high. Eva Smith, an employee was sacked with other colleagues seen as a ringleader for going on strike. It is this arrogance that Priestly was concerned about, he conveys Mr Birling as an arrogant, pompous and greedy man with no sympathy for the lower classes. “Eva Smith was one of them. She’d had a lot to say, far too much- so she had to go” here we see the blindness of Arthur Birling which can, to some extent be related to events in those times.
In 1912 people were divided very subjectively into different classes and social groups. Priestly wanted to make audiences aware of the arrogance and in some sense ‘fear’ in the upper classes for those lower down in the social and economic ladder. “Rubbish! If you don’t come down sharply on these people, they’d soon be asking for the earth. ” This quote from Arthur Birling strengthens the statement above and shows that Mr Birling is a selfish man who fuelled by his greed.
The reason why the celebration takes place in the first place is because of his daughter’s engagement to Mr Gerald Croft of “Crofts Limited”. Through his daughter’s engagement to Gerald Croft he sees a new business opportunity in the making: “And now you’ve bought us together… we may look forward to the time when Croft’s and Birling’s are no longer competing but are working together- for lower costs and higher prices! ” This quote shows and presents the question of if Mr Birling was interested in the engagement for sentimental reasons or just for business “Your just the type of son-in-law I wanted… “.