An Inspector Calls Questions and Answers
by J. B. Priestley

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In An Inspector Calls what is the Inspector referring to when he talks about "fire and blood and anguish"? What does he mean?

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The Inspector's words are not just aimed at the Birlings; they're also aimed at the audience and, even more generally, at humanity as a whole. In keeping with Priestley's socialistic message, the Inspector is enjoining everyone to take collective responsibility for what happens in society, especially to its weaker members, as symbolized in the play by Eva Smith.

If the Inspector's solemn warning isn't heeded, however, then the consequences will potentially be catastrophic. "Fire, blood, and anguish" are precisely what we would expect to encounter in a war. The play itself is set not long before the outbreak of World War I and was written and performed in the aftermath of World War II. Priestley uses the Inspector's warning to remind...

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