Essay Example for an Inspector Calls

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How does Priestley present Arthur Birling in ‘An Inspector Calls’? (30 marks) JB Priestley wrote the play in 1945 during WWII; however he set the play in 1912 when the Titanic sank. JB Priestley’s intentions of doing so was to illustrate to audiences the division of social classes within this time period – the higher class had more power. The audience knows that the character’s life’s are going to change, as it was set to years before WWI started, killing millions of people. Therefore, ‘An Inspector Calls’ challenged his audience so that they thought about possible upcoming disasters which may lay ahead for them if they were not to learn from the past mistakes. He used characters to represent the social classes: Eva Smith was of the lower class, Arthur Birling and family are middle class citizens, and Gerald Croft was from the higher class. Arthur Birling is presented as a capitalist in the play; he thinks that social class is all that matters. Birling continuously tried to gain approval off of Gerald by mentioning his upcoming knighthood, and telling him that the port that they’re drinking is ‘exactly the same port your farther gets.’ From this, the audience see’s that Gerald has higher status, through Birling repeatedly trying to impress him. Another way in which Birling tried to make himself seem important by mentioning his connections with influential people – playing gold with the ‘Chief inspector.’ The Inspector is used within ‘An Inspector Calls’ is used to express the views and opinions of JB Priestley, as he contrasts/threatens Arthur Birling’s middle class values (the reputation of his company, his important connections). Arthur Birling reacts to these views ‘(angrily)’ and ‘(savagely)’. This then shows the selfishness of Arthur’s personality. Another sign of Arthur Birling being selfish would be that he dismisses the idea of social responsibility – a
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