Inspector calls helpWatch
Any improvement I can make. English genuinely my worst subject. What grade would you give this
An Inspector calls is a didactic play that questions the morality of the lower classes. Priestley constructs flaws in Mr Birling to show the disparity between the lower and upper classes. Mr Birling thinks that he knows everything and has the power to control everyone. Giving power to the upper classes will only result in corruption. Priestley is also highlighting the patriarchal society that controlled women like Sheila, Sybil, and Eva smith. His ideology of capitalism is deeply embedded within him and the inspector is there to shine truth.
Mr Birling wants Sheila to accept Gerald's infidelity. Even though Sheila does not want to. This is shown through the quotation "Now Sheila, I'm not defending him. But you must understand that a lot of young men”. Mr Birling does not even try to comfort Sheila, but rather hinders Sheila. The use of "a lot of young men " shows that all women are victims of the power of men. He is generalising the crime; he is telling his daughter to turn a blind eye. This makes Sheila look like a victim to the patriarchal society, causing the audience to be sympathetic with Sheila. Also, Mr Birling views his daughter as a commodity, a commodity that he can use for greater financial gains. Mr Birling tries to use his power to manipulate his own daughter to convince her to marry Gerald. Priestley shows power in Mr Birling to highlight the apparent patriarchal society in 1912.Men would have had much more power in society compared to women ,because they could be business owners and had the right to vote .Priestley also conveys his message about societal gender difference by using Gerald: if women did not abstain from sex before marriage, they would get shunned, but if men had affairs, they were not condemned. This could have made the 1945 audience feel angry towards men who exploit women for their own needs.
At the start of the play, Mr Birling is confident and his family respects what he is saying, but as soon as the Inspector arrives there is almost a challenge to his power. This is shown through the quotation “cutting in massively” Priestley wants socialism to gain power over capitalism. As the play develops, you can see power difference between the Inspector and Mr Birling. These two characters represent two different ideologies and slowly the Inspector lessens the power of Mr Birling.Preistley does this to show that there should be consequence for actions regardless of what class or how much power you have. Mr Birling is in this situation because he abused his power and inevitably lead Eva to her suicide. This almost acts as warning to the audience, to use their power responsibly Alternatively, this can be inferred as socialism gaining power, because by 1945 the labour government had won, and the conservative government had lost.
Mr Birling thinks that he has power to control how society will act. Mr Birling makes absurd comments on how the titanic is “unsinkable absolutely unsinkable” and that “Germans don’t want war”. The repetition of “unsinkable” emphasis the stupidity of Mr Birling, that almost wants the audience not to associate with him. Priestley uses dramatic irony to discredit Mr Birling’s capitalistic ideology. Besides, the titanic acts as a symbol, this is done to highlight how in the
foreseeable future men like Birling will also be sunk by the peace and election which follow the second world war. Priestley also links Mr Birling to the titanic as the reason that the titanic sunk was because they were not willing to take any safety precautions, which later cost them lives. The reference to war could be a warning to the audience and reminder. As the 1945 audience had just gone through the horrors of the second world war, Priestley’s reminder may be an indication to the audience to avoid a further repercussion of a possible world war 3.
Mr Birling will only keep gaining power and women like Eva smith will only keep losing their power. This is shown through the quotation “lower cost and higher prices”. The juxtaposition of lower and higher shows the disparity between the upper and lower classes. Also, it shows Mr Birling’s main ideology, which is to make as much money as possible, even willing to sacrifice life. Priestley shows the extent of the power abuse by using the quotation “counting their pennies in their dingy back bedrooms"". Eva’s life acts as a foil to the life of Mr Birling, as Mr Birling lives of off Eva’s despair. Mr Birling has a luxurious home, but contrastingly Eva has nothing. The reference to “dingy” shows her life is dark and there is no hope for her as she is exploited. Priestley shows Eva as a victim of Mr Birling’s power, because now she does not even have those “pennies” that she used to have.
Here is an idea I used in one of my essays that surprisingly got a 9, it's a slightly different topic but links in. Mr Birling denies both collective and individual responsibility- add examples with quotes- making him hypocritical and dogmatic, hence the representation of the upper class and older generations' unchanging opinion that they have more power than everybody else. But great work !