An Inspector Calls (whole play)

Themes, quotes and notes on the play by J B Priestly

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  • Created by: cloe
  • Created on: 07-07-11 19:03
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o Set 1912, wrote 1945 (audience have knowledge) dramatic irony (Titanic, WW1 etc)
o Large divisions between classes, broken down by 2 war
o Women lesser than men, post war they gained a more equal position in society
o Ruling classes did not see the point in change, Tories out of power new social changes
of labour
o Responsibility
o Community
o Class/status (upper classes easy living is dependent upon the hard work of lower
o Gender
o Age (younger generation understand, new ways)
o Blame (oldies shirk it, young ones take it)
o Immaturity (irony that grownups shirk blame, young ones don't)
o Family (Insp; community. Birling; Look after own family. Mr + Mrs B don't try and help
Eric. Outward appearances deceiving)
o Growth ­ Mr + Mrs Birling don't grow. Eric and Sheila do.
o Foreshadowing
provincial speech, not born into aristocracy, more hatred from audience as he
doesn't care about lower classes (his class)
`fiddlesticks' to war
`Unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable' titanic
`make his own and all that nonsense' selfish
`Still I can't accept any responsibility'. Responsibility
Eva's death a `shame'
Inspector made a `nasty mess' of the night
Big ego... long speeches stops anyone how disagrees with him
Eva a `shame' doesn't care
Repeats about status
[Eric] Boys now have `too much time and money' easier life. Correct for the upper
classes. Class + responsibility (not his fault)
`I don't like your tone' to inspector trying to regain power in situation. status
The `press' involved horrifies him. Status
`Both landings'. Flaunting status
Rivalry in marriage ­ happy Mrs. Birling involved. She's better than him socially but
just as bad. Status + blame
His son can't have done it. Status + responsibility (denies anyone related to him
could do that)
He's `not the kind of father' not in touch with kids. Blame + family
Mr Birling `started it'
`Got to cover this up'. Status (Eric stealing)
He was a `Ex lord-mayor and magistrate'. Status

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I'd give thousands, yes thousands..' status
`Public scandal'. Status
`Or I'll' threatens Eric. Family
`Bluffed' knew it all along `took me by surprise'. Status
`All over now'. Blame + responsibility + status
[Sarcasm] `Famous younger generation who know it all'. Age
Gerald more like a son (similar views)
`hold your tongue'
`work all last summer'
`Nice behaved family' irony all dirty hands.
[workers] `Be broke if I know them' doesn't upper class. Status
`Respectable citizens not criminals' can't tell the difference.…read more

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Was Eva `pretty?' superficial. Gender + status
`Girls aren't cheap labour ­ they're people' understands. Age
`I'm really responsible?' age + responsibility
`If I could help her now'. Responsibility
`You'll see' can tell inspector knows what's happened. Age.
`he's giving us rope to hang ourselves'
`I'm not a child'. Age + class
Takes on parental role ­ advises to stop etc. Age + responsibility
Sarcasm to Gerald. Gender
Speech on how each is involved. Responsibility
To mother `cruel + vile'.…read more

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Goole ­ ghoul, ghost like/supernatural
Graphic details for effect and confession
Getting `heavy handed'
Looks hard at person talking to
`duty to ask questions' not find truth
Short, dramatic lines
Supports women
`don't stammer and yammer'
`never forget it'
`one body' community
Birling says he's a `crank'
Represents the millions of people like her.
Lower class
Wanted to feel loved
Turned to prostitution?
Birlings represent everything that is wrong with the upper class
Shelia is the epitome of the `new generation'.…read more


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