Theme of Responsibility in An Inspector Calls

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The play ‘An Inspector calls’ is a political satire written by J.B.Priestly as a means of illustrating the flaws in the British society during 1912. In the following paragraphs I will investigate how the theme of responsibility is presented in An Inspector Calls by Priestly through analyzing the language, structure, and the form of the play. Responsibility is a poignant theme which reinforces socialist ideas.

Priestley echoes his socialist views through acceptance of responsibility, or perhaps, the rejection of it and the contrasting views of the characters. He reflects liability on the audience by resonating his socialist views through the different characters the embodiment of responsibility, as some characters think when the Inspector leaves, so do their responsibilities. Priestley infers that people must accept responsibility for our actions and our society throughout the play.

Initially, the characterization through the effect of contrasting views of two ages:Young(Shelia and Eric) and Old(Mr and Mrs Birling)presents the theme of responsibility in An Inspector calls. The Old is presented as extremely stubborn individuals who denied all of their responsibility and transferred the blame to someone else.

The quote:’Still, I can’t accept any responsibility. If we were all responsible for what happened to everybody we’d had anything to do with, it would be very awkward’ from Mr.Birling shows how ignorant and selfish the older generation of the Birling family are. It suggests how they only want to protect themselves from being seen as a lower class family. By using an upper class man who runs a company with women workers, it emphasizes how prejudice people can be and how it can prevent people from acting responsible or taking responsibility of their actions. Furthermore, the quote from Mrs.Birling:’ But I think she only had herself to blame (Eva Smith)’ would prove on the fact that the old.

Moreover, Priestly also attempted to use the contrasting ideas between rich and poor within the advancement of plot to present the theme of responsibility.

Last but not least, the theme of responsibility could also be seen from the presentation of inspector and his speeches.

In conclusion, Priestley embedded a variety of ways to present responsibility to fidelity. He shows varying characteristics of the characters some of which are not stern products of capitalism, especially Sheila. Not all of the characters choose to suppress responsibility.


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Theme of Responsibility in An Inspector Calls. (2020, Sep 23). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/theme-of-responsibility-in-an-inspector-calls/

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