An Inspector Calls - Themes Overview

Themes of An Inspector Calls, showing a flat cap and top hat representing class, figures around a grave showing social responsibility, a split face showing age, and gender symbols representing gender

Let's look at the four main themes:

  • social responsibility
  • age
  • gender
  • class

The consequences of the Birlings' actions highlight Priestley’s ideas on social responsibility - do we look after one another in society?

The difference between the younger and older characters' reactions to Eva Smith's death shows how Priestley viewed different generations . He viewed the younger generation as hope for the future and this is why both Sheila and Eric learn a lesson from the Inspector.

How the male characters behave towards the females in the play highlights important points on gender and inequality.

Class issues are also dealt with by having a middle-class family involved in the death of a working-class girl.

J B Priestley explored these themes in a lot of his work. They are political in nature and are still relevant today.