HOW DID PRIESTLEY PRESENT CONFLICT IN ‘AN INSPECTOR CALLS’? ESSAY:
Conflict is a serious disagreement/argument or simply differences in opinions. Different types of conflict like rivalry within the family and within the society prevalent at that time are explored by Priestley in ‘An Inspector Calls’. Priestley uses the characters in the play to present these various types of conflicts. For example: He uses Mr Birling and the Inspector to show conflict within society and the continuous arguments between Sheila and Mrs Birling present the conflict within the family.
When we first meet the Birlings in Act 1, everything seems calm and they look like a perfect family. However, nearer the end the family gets left behind in a mess after the Inspector leaves. At the start Gerald says ‘You seem to be a nice well-behaved family’ and Birling replies ‘We think we are’. These lines are the first of dramatic irony Priestley uses: the last thing the Birlings have been is well-behaved. Everyone blames each other for all this which shows that they are no longer the polite and polished family they were pretending to be in Act 1. The audience will later realise that the hierarchy at the beginning is destroyed after the Inspector’s investigation. Moreover, these lines also suggest the alliance between Gerald and Birling, two men who share the same values.
Furthermore, we can see the conflict within the family as the children (Sheila and Eric) can think for themselves now without their parents’ influence. This can be seen where Sheila tells her father ‘Don’t interfere, please, Father. Gerald knows what I mean, and you apparently don’t.’ when he tries to defend Gerald’s actions. This perhaps suggests that Sheila doesn’t know whether she wants to marry Gerald anymore. She doesn’t want her father to get involved in this because he would care more about his business than her life so Sheila wants to make the decision. Additionally, we can see their family falling apart when Eric...
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