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Social And Historical Prerequisites Of The Play An Inspector Calls

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Inspector calls has a very unique and interesting context. The first of which is that it’s a post-war drama, which contribute to many of its themes and intricacies: socioeconomic and political issues that prompted conflict, including socialism and capitalism, democracy and totalitarian fascism and communal versus individual rights. Not only is it pre-war it is classed as a historical drama as the play is set before WW1 in 1912; as a result of this, throughout the play there are numerous occasions where dramatic irony has run rife causing any capitalist statements to appear wrong and moronic. And in the inspectors final speech when he states if they don’t learn there lesson ‘they will be taught in fire, blood and anguish’ which is what happens in the small scale violence in the play but also it is making reference to the impending doom held by WW1, and it happened yet again in WW2, so those watching the play after the Second World War may think that if we don’t listen to the play a third war could occur.

However during the war, when Priestley became a broadcaster, Britain was almost given a ‘free trial’ of socialism: the classes of the younger generation were mixed during evacuation, the ranks of the army were also mixed and not classified by any social standing and the food and clothes rations made everyone look similar and eat the same food which virtually demolished social classes.

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It’s also worth noting that by this time in 1945 socialist movements were popularising, and in July 1945 Clement Attlee, a member of the Labour Party, became Prime Minister and aided in creating the National Health Service and nationalising major industries and public utilities. Attlee’s government also presided over the decolonisation of India, Pakistan, Burma, Ceylon and Jordan, and saw the creation of the state of Israel upon Britain’s withdrawal from Palestine — this list of achievements somewhat corresponded with the inspectors in the play and also Priestley himself.

The release of the play couldn’t have had more perfect timing for it to have been popularised. Due to the nature of its release it astronomically increases dramatic irony and necessity for change to this benevolent socialist society. These people who have witnessed the most destructive event in human history can no longer partake in the society that birthed two of those events, the people wanted change and this play humoured them to such an extent the favourite hero Prime Minister Churchill was beaten in a landslide victory from labour.

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Social And Historical Prerequisites Of The Play An Inspector Calls. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 5, 2022, from
“Social And Historical Prerequisites Of The Play An Inspector Calls.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
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