An Inspector Calls- Themes

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  • Themes
    • Responsibility
      • 'responsible' and 'responsibility' most frequent in the play
      • presents different views on responsibility
      • contrast between individualism and collective responsibility
      • written for an ensemble cast- no character is more important than the other
    • Social Class
      • Mr Birling- self-made man, worked his way up- not critiqued
      • The Birlings- arrogant and chiefly concerned with reputation and social standing
      • Eva Smith does not appear on stage- working class are misrepresente-d in society?
      • Inspector is classless
      • Prejudice- several characters make judgements on others based on class
    • Age
      • a marked difference between the generations in the family
      • Mr and Mrs Birling are much more stubborn and narrow-minded in their world view
      • the younger characters are more malleable
      • Eric and Sheila are more affected by the inspector
      • suggested- traditional ideologies are old-fashioned - change lies within the next generation
    • Capitalism v Socialism
      • capitalism is presented as individualism
      • capitalist ideology- show as self-centred and flawed
        • dramatic irony
      • principle message of play promotes social responsibility
      • characters actions represent those of capitalist nations in the early 20th century
      • the inspector is the voice of social conscience?

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