A Critical Evaluation of 'An Inspector Calls' by JB Priestly.

Essay by dodHigh School, 10th grade March 2006

download word file, 4 pages 5.0

Downloaded 19 times

'An Inspector Calls' by J.B Priestly was written in the winter of 1944-45. Priestly set the play before the First World War and took a mere week to write it. The whole play takes place in one night in the Birling family's dining room. The play evokes moral dilemmas and the inspector stresses the point that everybody in the Birling family should share the blame of a young girls death. He also voices his opinion of how society should be. This essay will discuss the view of responsibility, guilt and blame in 'An Inspector Calls.'

Before the inspector arrives we are introduced to the Birling family. They are celebrating the engagement of Sheila Birling to Gerald Croft. Gerald has joined the family for the celebrations. We get the impression that the Birling family are upper class and look down on most people. Arthur Birling makes a speech which is full of dramatic irony.

Birling says such things like 'Titanic .... and unsinkable' and 'not a few German officers talking nonsense'. Priestly does this to make Birling a fool from the start. We know after this speech that Birling is deluded and will be in the wrong throughout the rest of the play. The theme of guilt is not introduced until Inspector Goole arrives. Before this the Birling family are celebrating jovially.

The theme of guilt arrives along with Inspector Goole as he questions the family. His motives of questioning concern a young girl named Eva Smith, who committed suicide by swallowing disinfectant. Goole claims that everyone in the room has a part to play in the girl's demise. The inspector is a confident and modern man who has different views to Mr Birling. When questioning, the inspector insists that he questions everybody separately one at a time and claims it...