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John Boynton Priestley' S Play An Inspector Calls: How Priestly Brings Conflict Between Mr. Birling And Inspector Goole

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Mr Birling is a capitalistic man in the middle class who only cares about earning a profit and is also a selfish man who only cares for himself and his money. Mr Birling is very different from Inspector Goole, “bees in a hive – community and their nonsense” he uses bees as they all work together and co-operate to keep themselves alive which shows that they all join together to form a community so without each other the community will fall apart and fail also the bees aren’t selfish as they share all the profits they have earned unlike the middle class who would want to keep all the profit for themselves so they can be looked up by the upper class. Bees also ‘sting’ as do the capitalists but bees don’t sting as they know the consequences of stinging which results in the death of the bees this also links to Mr Birling’s workers as they won’t stand up for themselves as the consequences of the act they will perform is being ‘sacked’ so the object that controls the workers is the power of fear being released from the capitalists who control their lives and who think they have the power of God over them. Also in this case Mr Birling cannot comprehend socialism as it is beyond his brain capacity to cope with the terms and aims of the socialistic ways as he has been living in his own little world he controls in his head like a child with their toys. However a worker named Eva Smith stood up against Mr Birling with a strike to raise her pay up a few shillings but poor Eva Smith was knocked down by the capitalist ‘sting’ and was sacked from her work as they want to keep every last ounce of money they can get unless it is more money gain as Mr Birling is a man who is arrogant and stuck in his own controlling ways of capitalism.

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However Inspector Goole is a man of socialism who believes in equality, community and responsibility also Inspector Goole is Priestley’s mouth piece. “We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other” responsible is also creating harmony, respect and also treating others as you want to be treated which is a religious lexical field and a Christian message as it links to the sacrifice of Jesus as he put others before himself as he died on the cross for all our sins also during the Eucharist in mass the priest says we are as one in one body. Also a body functions for survival so if one part fails so does the whole all fail as this portrays a community as everyone is working as a team so everyone plays a part so everything turns out right. The word ‘we’ is a first person plural and can be used as it can be directed at the audience and also the characters it also gives involves others and creates a sense of unity for every person which is socialism as it creates a positive light which is caring and also supporting of the other people in the community/society, members meaning joined gives a sense of belonging which is ideology of Priestley as his ideas and values of socialism is used through Inspector Goole as he wants everyone to be treated as equals in society and not the upper class to be thought of as better than working class because he thinks that everyone should except each other as they are all human and gods children and shouldn’t be thought of as higher than anybody else because they are not different from each other.

Mr Birling is also a controlling man “if you don’t come down sharply on these people they’d be soon asking for the earth”. ‘You’ is used by Mr Birling as he is telling Inspector Goole what to do as he thinks he is higher than the Inspector so he demands that the Inspector should listen to him which is a typical capitalistic thing to do to another human being. Mr Birling uses ‘come down’ as Mr Birling sees himself as better and having more power to control than the lower class and that he will punish others if they do him harm and oppose to what he thinks and does and he thinks himself as a dictator but he sounds like a criminal when he used the word punish. Mr Birling uses exaggeration when he thinks that the working class would want to earth if they receive a pay rise as he think they want more each time so Mr Birling is a typical capitalist as he thinks the world revolves around money and he is also a hypocrite as he thinks the working class are wanting more but he is the one wanting more money. Mr Birling also makes the working class sound like scum as he calls them ‘these people’ which means he looks down on them and thinks they are of unimportance as he doesn’t think of them as individuals and doesn’t show any interest of their lives, he also thinks that a rebelling will take place as he uses the word ‘soon’ as he implies they will take control of everyone else so they can take to money from the upper and middle class.

The Inspector uses a smart comeback to what Mr Birling said “it is better to ask for the earth than to take it” he implies that socialism is the best way in life as it brings light and hope to those who are looked down upon. The Inspector used the word ‘ask’ as workers asked and used manners as they have little money and possessions unlike those in higher class who just take anything without asking as they have the power to do it. Also Inspector Goole uses a biblical direction of ask and thou shalt receive also asking is a socialist preferred action as it is much political and doesn’t imply that a person has higher power than another person as it makes you a better person if you use manners when you speak to someone. The word ‘take’ is a capitalistic action as they are self-centred, selfish and don’t contribute to society which Priestley is trying to tell us through Inspector Goole is that capitalists should not be trusted as they are foolish, also as they take money without a care in the world for instance in the play Eric stole money from Mr Birling his father so he can give the money to Eva Smith as a capitalist he will not be accused of stealing and people will not give a second glance but if someone from the working class gets caught stealing then they will be severely punished for theft as they are looked down upon unlike the middle class as they are capitalists.

Mr Birling then comments about war “wars inevitable. And to that I say- fiddlesticks.” This portrays Mr Birling as foolish and a victim of dramatic irony as the Inspector is well informed. As a socialist as they are up to date and the Inspector wants to prevent war and death but Mr Birling has deaf ears and so isn’t listening to what the inspector has to say on the matter. However the inspector turns the audience against capitalists so Priestley portrays Mr Birling as a fool in the beginning as he thinks there will be no war and he doesn’t want war. As without war capitalists get to keep their money and not because of people dying but because he is arrogant and uncaring unlike the inspector who is a strong socialist and capitalists stay with what they believe and are dated and don’t change views so Mr Birling is stuck in his own box along with other strong belief capitalists.

“The time will come when if men will not learn that lesson they will be taught it in fire, blood and anguish.” The inspector speaks like prophets who are reliable and trusting as they are the messengers of God and he uses the word ‘will’ as he is talking about the future and uses epistemic modality which shows that the Inspector has confidence that he is accurate as a socialist The Inspector gives a warning of if you don’t change then there will be consequences. while being members of a non-secular society when The Inspector says ‘fire, blood and anguish” this indicates that there will be war, death and destruction and anguish means severe mental or physical pain which would both terrify the characters and the audience because of this the audience are full of fear as they have experienced the terror and loss of the war. He also uses ‘time’ as if the terror is right around the corner and will be present soon which also strikes fear into the hearts of the characters and those who are watching the play. He also emphases the word ‘learn’ when talking to Mr Birling as he believes that capitalists like Mr Birling have the minds of children because if they don’t get what they want then they will punish whoever made them angry.

The lighting of Mr Birling is ‘pink and intimate’ which implies that they are a close family and that everything is happy and warm which suggests that they have no secrets-not true. As for this it shows that everything is fake and doesn’t appear what it actually is. This is also similar to rose tinted glasses as the view appears to be good but there is limited vision. This means that there is hidden darkness in the atmosphere as there are hidden secrets between each character in the room as the area is full of capitalists who are selfish and also self-centred.

However when The Inspector enters the room ‘brighter and harder” reveals that the inspector is a god-like figure as he is the symbol of light-candle the presentation of hope and clarity which also shows how he is a prophet-a symbol of light. The word ‘brighter’ shows because he’s an inspector that there is pressure to confess and that there is no escape from the wrath of the Inspector. Also brighter suggest there are no more secrets and that the inspector knows everyone’s secrets the moment he walks into the room. There is no place to hide.

‘Sharp ring at doorbell’ the Inspector ringing the doorbell ‘sharp’ shuts Mr Birling up and brings him back to reality and also the announce of the Inspector’s arrival and socialism. The sharp ring also proves that there is power of socialism over capitalism as there is aggressiveness by socialism as socialism is the best way to live in this world. The bell could foreshadow the death of Eva Smith as the bell could be a death knell which is normally rung when there has been death, with could also be the death of capitalism. The Birling’s celebration comes to an end once the Inspector arrives and the pretence is now at an end, the doorbell could also represent a warning to the Birling’s to not bother to try and keep the secrets as the Inspector will find out anyway and also for them to change from capitalism to socialism or there will be consequences for not obeying the Inspector and all the power he processes as he won’t even let Mr Birling finish what he is saying so he doesn’t care what Mr Birling has to say as it doesn’t matter to him or effect what he is going to say to the Birling’s.

Mr Birling is ignorant and self-centred “A man has to make his own way-has to look after himself-and his family too” the use of singular suggests that Mr Birling is self-centred and has no sense of community and thinks himself as the top priority. This also creates distance between himself and the community and uses ‘man’ as he is being sexist and has his own ideology of using self-declaration as he thinks it as a statement and a fact that himself as a man make himself top priority. He also uses ‘his own’ to show his love of being a capitalistic as he is not sharing, being irresponsible and having an attitude towards others in the community. ‘himself – and his family too’ shows that Mr Birling is a very selfish human being as when he says this there is a pause as he adds the family on and are an afterthought as he thinks less of his family and thinks that he is in charge and has all the control over them but he adds the family to make himself look less selfish and makes them think he cares about them but being the capitalist he is he makes sure he looks good in front of others so he can be seen as a good leader and a loyal family man but he thinks because he is a man and the oldest he thinks he is better this is called age and gender inequality.

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