This essay sample on An Inspector Calls Essay Examples provides all necessary basic info on this matter, including the most common “for and against” arguments. Below are the introduction, body and conclusion parts of this essay.
In this essay we will be discussing the different views both the inspector and Arthur Birling have on responsibility by studying both speeches. We will be also be looking at how J.B Priestly presents the two speeches in the play and who does J.
B Priestly want the audience to agree. I will be studying the language and techniques J.B Priestly uses to make the two speeches sound more affective. I will back up my opinions with evidence and examples.
The play ‘An Inspector Calls’ is about a rich, middle class, respected family called the Birlings. The main family member Arthur Birling, a prosperous manufacturer is holding a family dinner party to celebrate his daughter’s engagement to the main-about-town Gerald Croft. When an Inspector Google intrudes their family party.
With some unexpected news. He is investigating the suicide of a young working-class lady called Eva Smith.
By the end of his visit he discovers every family member has something to own up to which relates to the young girls suicide. The Inspector leaves them to reflect on their actions and wondering weather all of this was a hoax. The overall moral message of the play is to learn to take responsibility for each other and that what affects one human being with affect you also.
The playwright is trying to tech a more communal attitude.
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Priestly presents Birling as bold, out spoken and arrogant. He is very business orientated and cares a lot about how high status his family is. Mr Birling cares a lot about his family but when the finger is pointed at him his is very quick to point the finger at his wife and children. He is some somewhat to blame for Eva Smiths death. It all started when at his factory the lady workers were asking for more paid.
He refused to raise his average wage so all the workers went on a strike demanding Mr Birling for a rise. This caused a lot of trouble for Mr Birling but it was the end of the holidays so they were all out of money, so eventually they all came back to factory at the normal going rate. To stop any strikes happening again he fired the five ring leaders, which one of them of Eva Smith. After she was fired she was out of work for two months and had hardly any money.
At the point of the scene when Mr Birling made his speech about responsibility the room was quite relaxed, Eric, Gerald and Mr Birling was drinking and smoking while Mr Birling carried on with his lecture. Before he made his speech my opinion were quite negative as his behavior was quite self-centered and on numerous occasions he thought he was right although he was not. In his speech he discusses that a man should look after himself and your family then you can get everything you want in life and pursue your aspiration. Other wise if you don’t you can get mixed up in everyone’s problems which will just drag you down.
Priestly writes Arthur Birling speech in a way so we are less likely to agree with his views. He is very opinionated in his tone which puts you off for example when he says ‘I don’t want to lecture you two young fellows again’ this makes you feel he doesn’t want to have a discussion but just wants to tell people his opinion. He also very condescending ‘But the way some of these cranks talk and write now’. The repetition of the word ‘but’ and ‘and’ gives a sense of unorganized thoughts as if he’s just thinks of different things to add ‘-and so long as he does that won’t come to much harm. But the way some of these cranks talk and write now’.
Furthermore he speaks in personal pronoun ‘I’ this gives an impression that it’s just his opinion and the others don’t necessarily agree. My last point to add is the dashes in the speech shows he needs to pause and there is some hesitation ‘-has to look after himself-and his family too, off course’.
Priestly using the other characters reaction after the speech to make us not want to agree with his views. Eric and Gerald don’t really seem to agree with his opinion as they don’t really comment on what he was discussing to them. Eric gives the impression that is father was rambling and wasn’t that interested ‘yes, you piled it on a bit tonight, father’. Also the Inspectors arrival didn’t really give anyone to reply as the door bell interrupted Mr Birlings speech ‘”after himself -and-” we hear a sharp ring of a front door bell’.
Priestly undermines the idea that Birlings speech is incorrect as Eva Smith commits suicide later on in the play, in result of the Birling family just looking after them selves and not anyone else. This shows his views are sometimes wrong. As no good has come out their actions.
An audience of 1946 would most likely disagree with Mr Birling as they had a strong sense of community at that year. I think a modern audience would perhaps have a more mixed opinion, however some people might agree with parts of his speech around looking after your and minding there own business.
Priestly portrays the Inspector as a mysterious, confident and intelligent man. When investigating the Birling family he doesn’t rush his investigation and is very mysterious with what information he knows. He describes himself as Inspector Google a new member of the police office. His role in the play is to dig up what the Birling family know about Eva Smith and link them to her suicide. To teach them a well needed lesson.
At the end of the play it is unclear of his role as there are suspicions his is just a hoax.
When the inspector is making his speech the scene is very tense you can feel the angry and stress, you can feel every emotion the character is going through. Sheila is softly crying to herself, Mr Birling is very angry and unhappy, Eric nearly at breaking point. In the Inspectors speech he talks about many aspects of responsibility. He discusses that we are responsible for one another and that we should help others when they are suffering ‘we are responsible for each other’. He also mentions that we are all in it together, like one with body ‘we are members of one body’.
Lastly he says everything affects one another in some sort of way.
‘Their hope and fears, their suffering and chance of happiness all intertwined with our lives’
Priestly uses many techniques in the inspector’s speech to make us think he wants us to agree with him. One techniques he uses is triple word this emphasise this point and makes it more dramatic ‘there are millions and millions and millions of Eva smiths and John Smiths’ and ‘fire and blood and anguish’. He also uses personal pronouns ‘we’, this gives the impression the opinion is held by other and not just him ‘We don’t live alone’. His short decisive sentences show he is very confident and clear on what he is talking about, this gives you confidence in that he is saying ‘Good night.’
The characters response to the inspector’s speech makes us think that Priestley wants us to agree with the inspector as Mr Birling contradict himself as saying Eric is the one to blame ‘you’re the one to blame for this’. But in his speech he says your responsibility for yourself which would imply that Only Eva Smith herself was responsible for her death. They all beginning to Argue for who’s to blame with each other, which make the audience realize that they are in part responsible. This supports the inspectors speech as it shows Mr Birlings views are just causing arguments and bad things.
The incident with Eva Smith earlier on in the play supports the idea the Inspector is talking about in his speech. If the family helped her out and didn’t abuse her she wouldn’t of committed suicide at the end of all of this.
The audience of 1946 was set in the Second World War so they would perhaps be more conscious of the idea of community and the suffering of others. They would mostly likely disagree with Mr Birling’s speech. A modern audience might be more mixed opinion as we live in a more individualistic capitalist society.
In each speech there were parts i agree with and parts I don’t. In Mr Birlings I agree with part of his opinion when he says you should look after just you and your family. As you could have goals to achieve for example you want to be an actor you need to be abit self-fish at times to get where you want to be. However I do agree with parts of the Inspectors speech as we do need to look after one another other wise when you need help who’s going to give to you.
My ideas on responsibility have change slightly by reading this play, but not as much. I’ve realized that is quite important to help one another for example if someone is getting bullied it needs to be stopped, as you wouldn’t like to be treated in that way. I think a modern audience would respond differently to a 1946 as people in 1946 as the different time periods had different moral.