Inspector Calls Themes

Themes In Inspector Calls

Social Responsibility 

One of the four main themes in Inspector Calls is social responsibility.

The play was performed after WW2. At the time there was no concern for the poor. 

Priestly wanted to adress the issue of the poor.  Priestley wanted his audience to be responsible for their own behaviour and responsible for the welfare of others.

Social responsibility is portrayed throughout the play for example :- 
- the treatment of Eva Smith 
- how each character does or does not take responsibility for their behaviour
- the Inspector's lessons

Examples quotes :-
Mrs Birling does not feel socially responsible "Eric I'm absoloutely ashamed of you."
Eric feels socially responsible "I dont see much nonsense about it, you lot may be letting yourselves out nicelt but I can't."

1 of 4

Themes In Inspector Calls

Age 

Age is an important theme in Inspector Calls.  Priestley uses it to show how he believed that there was hope in the younger generations ability to learn and change.

However the older characters' opinions and behaviours are stubbonly fixed. 

The theme of age is portrayed in the play by :-

- Sheila and Eric's response to Eva's death
- Mr and Mrs Birling's response to Eva's death
- How the older characters perceive the younger ones

Examples of quotes :-
Mr Birling says to his son "Why are you hysterical young fool"
Eric says to his parents "You are beginning to pretend now that nothing really happened at all"

2 of 4

Themes In Inspector Calls

Gender

An Inspector Calls was written after WW2. Many British men went away to fight during the war. Their positions in work had to be filled by women. Men had to accept that women were capable of doing the same jobs as men. Not all men saw this as a good thing and had the same attitude of that in the past.

How the theme gender is portrayed :-
-
How Mr Birling and Gerald Croft view women.
- How Mrs Birling treats Eva Smith.
- How Eva Smith is portrayed as independant and outspoken before her death.

Examples of quotes :-
How Gerald speaks about women "I hate those hard-eyed dough-faced women"

3 of 4

Themes In Inspector Calls

Class 

Before WW2 Britain was divided by class (higher and lower).

The war helped to bring the two classes closer together. Rationing meant that people of all classes were the same. 

How class is portrayed in the play :-
- When Eva is a factory worker 
- When Eva works in a shop
- When she is effectively homeless
- When she is potentially a single mother

Examples of quotes
Mr Birlings opinion of working class "As if a girl of that sort would ever refuse money"

4 of 4

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »See all An Inspector Calls resources »