This is a perfect little drama, in more ways than one. On a technical level it conforms to the Aristotelian unities of action, place and time. But it is also a succinct and elegant piece of theatre which leaves the reader/ audience with a sense of fulfilment, knowing that they have experienced something special.
Each character learns something about themselves and about each other. The Birlings believe that they are ‘on the up’ by climbing the social scale: Father is expecting a title, Mother is safe within her world of committees, the younger generation expect that they can control what lies ahead. The visit by the Inspector turns all this upside down. By the end they are all stripped bare and vulnerable, ready to admit all their faults.
But then there is another twist, and then another. And, along the way, Priestly asks us all to examine our own consciences.s.