Priestly is a politically charged writer, many things could have caused him to become such strong minded about many political aspects of life. Priestly served in the First World War watching his friends die around him must have been traumatic this could have caused him to think about the state of society and the way it worked. The First World War was famous for its complete disregard to human life. While Priestly was there fighting for his life and the freedom of others.
The people with the power to send these people off to fight would have been sitting at home careless to the lives wasted around them. This made Priestly think about how Britain’s class system worked and how it was wrong. Priestly intended his play to create the effect of active unity in the public to allow society the ability of hindsight allowing them to look back at past events such as The First World War and change there way of life. Otherwise the lives lost, the damage caused, would have been in vain.
He didn’t want the life’s lost just to be another statistic he wanted to make them count for something better. ‘An Inspector Calls’ is set in an industrial town in 1912; this is before the outbreak of the First World War. The plays main focus is around the death of a young working class girl, Eva Smith. It is very clear that each character is used to represent each social class in a stereotypical way. The play shows the different attitudes each class has. The six main characters in the play are the Birlings – Mr ; Mrs Birling.
There children Eric ; Sheila Birling. Sheila’s Fianci?? Gerald Croft and finally The Inspector. All these minus the inspector are upper class citizens who believe that they are socially superior to the lower classes. Priestly has chosen the higher class group to use as his instrument to get his message because Priestly believes that the attitude of the upper class is wrong and he uses them in his play to show how he doesn’t like the way Britain worked politically.
Priestly with the fact that mainly upper class people will be seeing his play, in mind knows that his message will be getting projected to his intended audience the people he wants to change there ways. In the period around 1912 it was only upper class men who could vote. The lower class peoples opinions were virtually never heard, they were considered irrelevant. This was at the centre of Priestly’s anger; it was as if the poor, lower class people didn’t matter. Priestly fought against this, he fought for equal rights and equality between all people.
In 1912 rich people would remain rich and the poor would remain poor as the poor had no say in what happened in their country – Britain. The rich choose not to take notice on how the poor were treated and never thought about what could be done about it. Priestly’s play shows this as the inspector is used to make everyone responsible for Eva Smiths death, this makes them think about how there actions can affect others. His intention is to make them realise no one should have to go through pain just because they fall at the bottom of the social scale.