An Inspector Calls

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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An Inspector Calls By J B Priestley "Compare two characters in a play which contrast with each other showing your own opinion and analysis. " 'An Inspector Calls', by J B Priestley, is a play in which he shows how the personalities of two characters can contrast against each other. In this essay I intend to show how the characters Mr Birling and his daughter Sheila contrast to show two views, which contrast on the death of a young woman, caused by the actions of the Birling family.

'An Inspector Calls' is set in 1912, in the dining room of the Birling family. The play opens with the Birling's and Gerald Croft celebrating Sheila and Gerald's engagement. From this we are able to learn that they are quite well off as they are able to afford to throw a party, unlike most at this time. Once we are a few pages into the play an Inspector calls and commences to explain that a young woman has died, by committing suicide by drinking a bottle of bleach.

As the play progresses the Inspector questions the actions of all the Birlings.

At the beginning of Act One, we are given a few brief details about Mr Birling by the author. We are told that he is a 'heavy-looking, rather portentous man in his middle fifties with fairly easy manners but rather provincial in his speech…' This suggests that he is a man of high standards and significance and is quite well mannered, but he is actually a man of low sophistication and a man who is not well educated. Priestley shows all of this by making Birling a 'single-minded' man who won't adopt any new ideas like the 'higher-class' mixing with the 'lower-class' people. Birling is not a very likable man...