Priestley’s Genre in An Inspector Calls
‘An Inspector Calls’ is a “Whodunit” written by J.D. Priestley in 1945and was first shown in Britain at the new Theatre on the 1st October1946.Priestley was a socialist and in ‘An Inspector Calls’, the maintheme explores capitalism versus socialism. This play is a moralityplay. Priestley communicates his message to the audience byrepresenting capitalism by the upper class and the Birling family andsocialism by the lower class and the Inspector and Eva Smith/DaisyRenton as this related to real life during this time. Priestleypresents his arguments clearly through interesting characters, withvery different views and a powerful story line with major consequencesto individual actions. He presents this morality play within the”whodunit genre”.
Priestley uses a whodunit genre to demonstrate his social message forvarious reasons. The message is directed to the upper class soPriestley needed to make sure they saw it. Going to the theatre waspopular with the upper class until 1939 when cinema became extremelypopular, so as an attempt to retain a theatre audience Priestley useda detective thriller as these genres were clearly popular at this timeas many people enjoyed Agatha Christie and Emlyn plays. They werepopular detective thriller play writers. Another reason for using awhodunit genre would be that in the play most of the characters areusually thoroughly questioned by a detective so their actions,thoughts, and opinions can be explored deeply through the question andanswer process. Also this would be perfect to demonstrate a socialmessage as actions and consequences of a c…
… Priestley wrote this play with interesting dialogue, deep,realistic characters, and an effective story line that specificallydealt with the problems of capitalism. Through the thoroughquestioning of each character he was able to present these problemsinterestingly, without having to list them down, and so kept theaudience entertained while expressing the true theme behind thisdetective thriller. Also Priestley wrote this play to appear it isabout the Birling’s mistakes but manages to direct the message at theaudience and while watching this play, make them think of their ownmistakes and I think that is what Priestleys main aim was. I thinkthat Priestley wrote “An Inspector Calls” to demonstrate the trueimportance of socialism and the unimportance of capitalism and I thinkHe definitely achieved his purpose.