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A theatre Critic commented:“Priestley’s play is unusual in that a character, the Inspector, could be said to direct the action of the play.” Discuss this comment

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Joanne Muter 10J A theatre Critic commented: "Priestley's play is unusual in that a character, the Inspector, could be said to direct the action of the play." Discuss this comment, with particular reference to; 1. The way the Inspector controls the sequence of events in Acts 1 and 2. 2. The use of dramatic irony in the play. 3. How Priestley uses the Inspector Goole as a mouthpiece or voice for his own views on society in 1912. The statement above by a theatre critic tells us his/her views about the Inspector, in the play that we have studied in depth. I agree with this statement as the Inspector acts as an on stage director for "An Inspector Calls". I will discuss this point in detail in my essay. I will examine the way the Inspector controls events, characters and the audience in acts one and two, the usage of dramatic irony in the play, and finally I will discuss how Priestley uses the Inspector to air his views on the society in 1912. The identity of the Inspector is key to the play, as it shows the way the characters have changed after being investigated by the Inspector. Sheila notes her observations to her parents, " I have an idea- and I had it all along vaguely-that there was something curious about him. He never seemed like an ordinary police Inspector-" Sheila just says this in passing, as it holds no relevance to her, but both Mr and Mrs Birling seize this theory and join in so they can forget about the whole incident. They continue to talk about this theory getting more and more confident that they are correct. "I mean, they don't talk like that. I've had dealings with dozens of them" Mr Birling's beliefs about this Inspector are then confirmed as Gerald enters and uncovers more truths about the Inspector. ...read more.


You must have known what she was feeling. And you slammed the door in her face." He is also there to show the themes of the play, I have already discussed the social message and the political view. He is also there to show morality, he becomes a voice of conscience. Respectability is another theme of the play that the inspector explores as it was of great importance in Edwardian times, the Birling's believe that because they had money and therefore power that they also had respectability, the Inspector is there to teach them that respectability comes with morals and ethics. Via the Inspector, Priestley tells us about responsibility and power. The more power you have the more influence you can have. The Birling's and Gerald are just using their power for the good of themselves; they have also abused their power and led to Eva Smith's death. Priestley shows us using classes that the upper, more powerful class have influence in society and can affect the lower classes, this is what the Birling's did, so the Inspector is there to instruct them that with power comes responsibility, the more power you have the more responsibilities you have. Being responsible for yourself is not enough, " we are all responsible for each other" and that everybody is equal and deserve to be treated equitably. Priestley makes sure the Inspector explores conscience and guilt, the Inspector acts as a ghoulish manifestation of each character's conscience. He manages to pull out their confessions, Sheila along with the Inspector believe that they have to " share their guilt" and face up to the guilt, some of the family haven't done and carry on as if nothing has happened. The Inspector and therefore Priestley believe that people need to face up to their guilt and listen to their conscience. The Inspector and Priestley see all the characters to be at fault but maybe not equally. ...read more.


The Inspector dislikes her the most and only one part of the speech wouldn't change her; the whole thing didn't. I think the Inspector directed his speech more at Sheila and Eric, as he knew they had a chance of changing, as they are "more impressionable" than the parents as they are stuck in their ways, and will never change. The Inspector's final speech is straight from J. B Priestley; it is a socialist speech and sums up the whole message of the play. The message to the audience that they should accept their responsibilities for other fellow human beings, equality for everyone, with equal opportunities and the helping, caring, sharing attitude that we all need to make a better world. The audience will listen to this especially as they have just seen two world wars, it will make them think about if the capitalist values and attitudes made the tragedy happen, the death of Eva Smith, world wars and any other unhappiness caused by people in the world. The message is still strong to this day, but it will have had more of an impact of that society. It will make them all think about themselves; that is what J. B Priestley wanted to happen. " We' don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other" This is what the characters in the play will take away from their experience; this is also what the audience will take away with them. Priestley created a controlling Inspector to convey his views. With a weak Inspector these views would not express his opinions successfully. I feel I have answered the question to the best of my ability, I have discussed the Inspector's control in acts one and two, the use of dramatic irony in the play and how Priestley used the Inspector to air his views on society in 1912. I thoroughly agree with the theatre critic's comment, I do believe that the Inspector directs and narrates the play. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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