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ENGLISH
Asked by Cira

How does priestley present ideas about social duty in an inspector calls?

Priestly’s goal, through the device of the young woman’s suicide, is to demonstrate to the family and the audience that any action taken “voluntarily” is an action taken in context of the person’s lived experiences. This is not to say that Priestly argues that there is no free will, but rather that he argues that one can influence an act, even a murder, without realising that one is doing so. As such, Priestly suggests that it is our moral and social duty to help those in need, rather than compound their suffering with actions or, even, indifference. This is a concept brought out in page 8 of Alan Norrie’s “A Critique of Criminal Causation” (the modern law review, Sep. 1991, pg 685-701) as such, “The girl’s suicide is ‘voluntary’, but it is still caused by the acts of the family, so that no special finality is given to her actions. ‘Voluntariness’ loses its special character when a broader view of events and actions is taken.”

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Ben Maguire
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