The Themes in 'An Inspector Calls' are , Responsblity, Class, Sex, and Age.
In An Inspector Calls, the central theme is responsibility. Priestley is interested in our personal responsibility for our own actions. The play explores the effect of class, age and sex on people's attitudes to responsibility, and shows how prejudice can prevent people from acting responsibly.
Each member of the family has a different attitude to responsibility.The Inspector wanted each member of the family to share the responsibility of Eva's death: he tells them, "each of you helped to kill her." However, his final speech is aimed not only at the characters on stage, but at the audience too
Quotes: The Inspector wanted each member of the family to share the responsibility of Eva's death: he tells them, "each of you helped to kill her." However, his final speech is aimed not only at the characters on stage, but at the audience too.
The Inspector is The Inspector is talking about a collective responsibility, everyone is society is linked, in the same way that the characters are linked to Eva Smith. Everyone is a part of "one body
Quote:And I tell you that the time will soon come when, if men will not learn that lesson, when they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish.
What would Priestley have wanted his audience to think of when the Inspector warns the Birlings of the "fire and blood and anguish"?
Probably he is thinking partly about the world war they had just lived through - the result of governments blindly pursuing 'national interest' at all costs. No doubt he was thinking too about the Russian revolution in which poor workers and peasants took over the state and exacted a bloody revenge against the aristocrats who had treated them so badly.
Apart from Edna the maid, the cast of the play does not include any lower class characters. We see only the rich, upwardly mobile Birlings and the upper class Gerald Croft. Yet we learn a lot about the lower class as we hear of each stage in Eva's life and we see the attitude the Birlings had for them.
CharactersAttitudes to the lower class:Attitudes to the upper class: At the start of the play, this character was... To this character, Eva was... Mr Birling keen to be knighted to cement his hard-fought rise to the upper class cheap labour Sheila happy spending a lot of time in expensive shops someone who could be fired out of spite Gerald prepared to marry Sheila, despite her lower social position a mistress who could be discarded at will Eric awkward about his 'public-school-and-Varsity' life easy sex at the end of a drunken night out Mrs Birling socially superior to her husband, and embarrassed at his gaffes
a presumptuous upstart