Priestley uses the Inspector as a ‘mouthpiece’ for his own views on class. The Inspector is used as a figure of morality; he is there to make the family realise that they have an easy life resting upon the hard and difficult work of the lower class. As JB Priestley was a socialist and a founder of the Socialist Commonwealth Party, he wanted to see the collapse of the class system. The Inspector tries to make the other characters realise that there isn’t a class system, they are all “members of one body” and “responsible for each other”. “One body” relates to the idea of Mr and Mrs Birling unifying the lower class, except the Inspector is trying to make them realise that they are also a part of the one body, alongside the lower class. He also tries to induce guilt from the family with dysphemistic language when talking about how Eva “burnt out her insides” and died after “several hours of agony”. JB Priestley wants the other characters, especially Mr and Mrs Birling, to feel sympathy for the lower class and recognise where they have gone wrong, so he uses the character of Inspector Goole to do this. This may also teach the audience a moral lesson and make them consider their political beliefs.
To conclude, JB Priestley presents the theme of social class through the different characters and their attitudes towards the lower class. He criticises the views of the upper class; this stops the audience siding with the characters who have negative attitudes towards the lower class, allowing JB Priestley’s socialistic views to be put in the limelight.
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