A play where such themes may feature conflict is ‘An Inspector Calls’ by J. B. Priestly. The dramatist conveys this theme effectively through several techniques. An Inspector Calls is about a family called The Birlings. It focuses on the recent suicide of a young girl called Eva Smith, who also calls herself Daisy Renton. During the play, the Inspector helps the Birlings to realise that they were all partially responsible for her tragic death.
The first scene in the play has a happy and exciting tone as Shelia Birling and Gerald Croft have just announced their engagement: “At this moment they have all had a good dinner, are celebrating a special occasion, and are pleased with themselves. ” This shows that they are very content to overlook the underlying tension in the household. Similarly, the dramatist uses the theme of conflict through the relationship of Mr. Birling and Eric Birling: “Eric: ‘Because you’re not the kind of father a chap could go to when he’s in trouble – that’s why. ’ Birling: ‘(angrily) don’t talk to me like that. Your trouble is – you’ve always been spoilt –“.
This shows that the relationship between Mr. Birling and Eric is not very strong and easily upset. This emphasizes the conflict because father and son obviously do not see eye to eye and are not very close because of Eric’s alcoholism and with Mr. Birling working in his business all the time. They keep their emotions to themselves which is why Eric feels that he cannot go to his father when he is in trouble. This conflict is further revealed and highlighted by the Inspector. In addition Priestly emphasizes the theme through the Inspectors arrival: “The Inspector… he creates at once an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness”.
This shows that because the Inspector is so important he makes the room so tense that the characters are worried of what will happen. This contrasts with the scene before because the Inspector has brought these characters from being jovial to uncomfortable before he even speaks. Additionally, the conflict between the family members is not resolved when the Inspector leaves and leads characters to question their past behavior: “You’re trying to pretend that nothing really happened at all … this girl’s still dead. This demonstrates how the Inspector has altered Eric’s attitude. He feels guilty for the way he treated Eva. This also shows that Mr. and Mrs. Birling feel as though they have escaped punishment with what they have done and are not admitting their responsibility. Overall, Priestley effectively conveys the theme of conflict through certain relationships in the Birling family. It was a very effective play in the end and I did enjoy it a lot. Priestly is a very good dramatist. It had a meaningful theme and was very interesting to read.