Write an essay. Required topic is An Inspector Calls. The academic subject for which the text must be created - Literature. It should be for...
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What topicAn Inspector Calls
Which subjectLiterature
What age groupYear or Grade 10
How many pages2
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Any other preferencesWrite an essay on the theme of resposibility. Use quotations

J.B. Priestley's play An Inspector Calls is a thought-provoking examination of how individuals and society must take responsibility for their actions. The play is set in England in 1912, but its themes and message are still relevant today. The characters in the play are confronted with their past, present, and future actions, and they must take responsibility for the consequences of their actions. In this essay, we will explore the theme of responsibility in An Inspector Calls and its significance.

The Characters' Response to Responsibility

Firstly, the characters in the play respond to responsibility in different ways. The Inspector is a figure who holds the characters accountable for their actions. His authoritative presence and persistent questioning expose their dishonesty and hypocrisy. Mr. Birling, for instance, tries to blame the death of Eva Smith on anybody but himself, and he even tries to use his social status to avoid responsibility. However, the Inspector's relentless insistence on accountability forces him to change his mind.

On the other hand, Sheila is the one who takes responsibility for her wrongful behavior. She is devastated to learn that her jealousy and anger caused Eva Smith's dismissal, which in turn led to her suicide. The Inspector gives her the chance to take responsibility for her actions, and she does so, showing remorse for her past behavior. This is shown when she says, "I behaved badly too. I know I did. I'm ashamed of it. But now you're beginning to pretend all over again that nothing much has happened, and I can't see it like that anymore" (Act Two).

The Importance of Responsibility

The theme of responsibility in An Inspector Calls emphasizes the importance of recognizing the consequences of our actions. Throughout the play, the characters are shown that their actions have a ripple effect, and that their choices can lead to harm. The Inspector makes this clear when he says, "We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will soon come when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish" (Act Three).

Furthermore, the play's message is that we must take responsibility for not only our own welfare but also that of others. Mr. Birling's indifference to the suffering of the working-class and his prioritization of profit over people have real consequences. His lack of responsibility leads to Eva Smith's death, and he is forced to admit that his actions were "cruel and vile" (Act Three).


In conclusion, the theme of responsibility in An Inspector Calls is a significant theme that emphasizes the importance of recognizing our actions' consequences. Priestley's play uses the Inspector's authoritative presence to hold the characters accountable for their actions. The characters' responses to responsibility show that taking responsibility is critical to moving on from past actions. This theme's importance is emphasized by the play's message that we must take responsibility for our and others' welfare. Today, more than ever, we need to remember the importance of being responsible for our actions and decisions.