An inspector calls is set in 1912 but was written and perfomed in 1945/46 to a post war generation.Setting the play before the first world war enables priestly to make the most of class divison and social hierachy in england.Priestley has used throughout this play the devices of dramatic irony and foreshadowing. He shows lies, deceit, wickedness and weakness within the characters. The play can be seen as a microcosm of society with different attidues being shown in different characters. Priestl was a strong chrisitian and believed in the 7 deadly sins so each of the attitudes shown in the play highlight the seven deadly sins.‘An Inspector Calls’ is trying to raise awareness about social inequalityPriestly wanted people to think about the changes that the war had brought – for the better! To understand just how Priestley exposes the traits of his characters in society, we must first understand the context in which the play was set. Priestley wanted his audience to understand that “there are millions and millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with us…intertwined with our lives”. The name Eva Smith in itself holds significance to this message.
Eva is a derivative of the name Eve, who from a Biblical perspective was the first woman, and the name Smith, reported as being the most common British surname. Thus ‘Eva Smith’ could be just about any woman, yet she isn’t any woman, she is instead one who represents all people in her predicament and Priestley uses both the significance of her name coupled with her anonymity in the play (as we hear of Eva but never see her) to show that Eva Smith is representative of everyone, yet remains an identity or personality for the audience fulfil. , both today and in the time the play was written? To portray the failings of society Priestley uses a combination of many different themes and idealisms, each represented by the attitudes of the different character. Arthur Birling represents power and responsibility, Gerald – selfishness, Sheila – jealousy and pride, Eric signifies lust and finally Sybil Birling who embodies hypocrisy and arrogance. Priestley uses the Inspector as a personified conscience of the characters and of the audience, though the Inspectors identity is never revealed and is left for the audience to figure out, he at once creates a domineering atmosphere with an air of almost godlike capabilities of omnipotence, omnipresence and perhaps most importantly – omniscience.
Priestley uses time as his greatest dramatic ploy in the play in the play an l The performance, ‘An Inspector Calls’ is about how a lack of equality in society can cause a girl’s death; how a euphoric girl drove herself to suicide. J.B. Priestley is describing a girl’s death throughout the play, but is really trying to prevent it from happening in real life. He is using guilt and sorrow by remorse to regurgitate the moral objectives and humanity of the people in 1945, after the mass slaughtering of millions of people during the war. This was the focal point for the play. The aspect of equality was the optimism which kept the British people fighting on. The British people felt if equality and rights were initiated then previous unemployment and poverty, in the 1930’s would be abolished today. The reminder of equality made the people realise why they were fighting in the war. They fought for equality against autocracy.