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Act One of An Inspector Calls(TM) how does J.B.Priestley use dramatic devices to convey his concerns and ideas to the members of the audience, as well as interest and involve them in his play?

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In Act One of 'An Inspector Calls' how does J.B.Priestley use dramatic devices to convey his concerns and ideas to the members of the audience, as well as interest and involve them in his play? J.B. Priestley wrote the play "An Inspector Calls" in 1945, but the play itself is set in 1912; this is before both world wars, where divisions between people consisted of their class and status. The play was set in 1912 because during the wars, life in Britain changed completely and after the war it was a New Britain, which is what the people of Britain wanted. In 1912 women workers were at the bottom of the social hierarchy and more than 8million people were paid less than 25 shillings a week, but as the war was going on upper class and working class had to mix together to do their war-duties. J.B. Priestley expected people's reactions to be of disgust in the way that lives were led before the First World War and so that they could see the effects of how social lives changed after the wars. In the play you could say that it ends optimistically but this could also be debated as the young won and the old lost. Sheila was prepared for a change and as she was happy to admit that she was in the wrong with how she dealt with Eva Smith and was willing to learn from her mistakes and adjust to modern life. ...read more.


Following that point is the introducing of new characters, when the inspector enters the play he challenges the family's beliefs and existence of the higher class, the Inspector stares at each character to make them feel intimidated and feel under the spotlight, he stares because the eyes are the window of the soul. The inspector also interrogates them and forces them to reflect on their actions. Mr Birling gets rather angry "We were having a nice little family celebration tonight. And a nasty mess you've made of it now. Haven't you? " because of the way Birling has lived his life he cannot accept responsibility, this is where the young won and the old lost. The description of the inspector on page 11 states that he doesnt have to look powerful yet he must act it. "The Inspector need not be a big man but he creates at once an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness" The Inspector immediately becomes the centre of attention by ringing the doorbell to enter the plot just as Birling is saying something. Another point is that all characters use utterances, firstly the Inspector uses interrogatives, "I think you remember Eva Smith now, don't you Mr Birling?" this is to probe Birling into saying something about Eva and what he knew about her, Eric also uses this to grab information out of his father "Is that why she committed suicide? ...read more.


You not only knew her but you knew her very well. Otherwise, you wouldn't look so guilty about it. When did you first get to know her?" This is said by Sheila and by saying this she is showing Gerald that the inspector or she will not take it easy on him. The audience will realise that the setting is not going to change and the living room is meant to be a courtroom and that everybody in the family is on trial for contributing to Eva's suicide. The last word in the play shows us that the Inspector knew what was going to happen and leaves the audience wondering just how he did. "Well?" this is a rhetorical question and is used to engage the audience in the play. The play is a well made play because the events onstage unfold in real time; the time in the play, is the time for the audience as there are no breaks in it. It has a moral to it, this being a warning that if you put yourself up to high, you just fall from a greater height. In conclusion, J.B.Priestley uses dramatic devices in 'An Inspector Calls' to show what the characters are like and also to warn the audience that life should not go back to how it was. The inspector in the play is the voice of J.B.Priestley and is the conscience of the nation. Katie Jones 10f ...read more.

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