Blame in an Inspector Calls

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How is the theme of blame explored in “An Inspector Calls”? Priestley explores the theme of blame in “An Inspector Calls” by using the Inspector as his main dramatic device. The Inspector is used to promote Priestley’s views and thoughts about class prejudice and the need of collective responsibility. He also explores the theme of blame through the use of the Inspector’s dialogue and language. He purposely uses powerful adjectives in his phrases, such as “burnt her inside out” and “she was in great agony”; the word “agony” is emotive because it suggests an extremely unbearable pain. Sheila responds “miserably” which illustrates that she has been saddened by the news the Inspector had announced. However, this has an impact on Sheila but Mr and Mrs Birling, who are set in their ignorant time frame of mind, fail to see this. Their callous attitude prevents them from accepting any blame or responsibility for their own actions, and they fail to recognise that all actions have consequences. Their social class is also revealed when they are talking about Eva Smith. Mrs Birling calls her “girls of that class.” And Mr Birling sees her as just “one of my employees” not important and worth worrying about, which conveys that they think they are too good for people like her and that is her own fault for the things that happened to her. Both characters try to use their social status to influence or threaten the Inspector. Mr Birling tries to impress how important he is and intimidates the Inspector by saying “I was an alderman for years,” and that he knows the Brumley police officers well. He also becomes threatening when he says that he knows the Chief Constable “I ought to warn you that he’s an old friend of mine.” The word warn evidently indicates that he is trying to threaten the Inspector. Furthermore, the Inspector questions each suspect individually. I think that

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