Responsibility In An Inspector Calls

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Perhaps the most debated topic in our modern society, responsibility has remained a difficult aspect to portray. In "An Inspector Calls," a play by J.B Priestly, the suicide of an ordinary girl living in the lower class society named Eva Smith prompts an investigation that reveals how each member of the Birling family and Gerald bears some responsibility in her suicide. Through the effective usage of characters, imagery, themes and structural devices, the author J.B Priestly effectively presents the theme of responsibility in the play, "An Inspector Calls".

One of the author's most prominent ways to present the theme of responsibility is through the realistic portrayal of our contemporary society. This realistic representation of society is
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Additionally, Inspector Goole states that "If men do not learn their lesson, they will be taught in fire and blood and anguish." The terms "fire," "blood" and "anguish" connotes aspects of hell and war, this statement is dramatic irony because, during the time of the play, society has undergone two world wars, implying that society has failed to "learn their lesson" and create a united community. Furthermore, Inspector Goole states that "Millions and millions of Eva Smith's and John Smith's still left with us." The repetition of the word "Million" exaggerates the uncountable amounts of "Eva Smiths and John Smiths" living within…show more content…
This is evident in Act 1 when the setting of the play begins with an engagement party and the lighting is "pink and intimate." However, when the Inspector arrives, the lighting quickly becomes "brighter and harder." The adjectives "pink" and "intimate" portrays aspects of isolation and creates a dim setting, symbolising the ignorance they have towards the lower class society. However, the adjectives "brighter" and "harder" connotes hope and truth; this dramatic contrast in the atmosphere creates tension in the scene and maintains an appropriate atmosphere through the play. Moreover this, during the final moments of Act 1, Gerald is suspected of having an affair with Eva Smith as the Act ends with the question "Well?" by the Inspector. This cliffhanger keeps the audience questioning Gerald's commitment and his contribution to the death of Eva Smith. Likewise, the cliffhanger ends at a point of tension to transition the tension into the following Act as the audience questions if Mr Birling, Shelia and Gerald are the only ones involved in Eva Smith's demise. After the Inspector interrogated each member in the household, the play reaches a climax in Act 3 when Inspector Goole presents his pragmatic speech and "walks straight out, leaving them staring, subdued and wondering." This climax of the play emphasises on J.B Priestly's socialist views as the tension in the scene bolsters
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