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An Exploration Into J.B Priestley's Dramatic Methods Within Act 3, 'An Inspector Calls'.

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Introduction

An Exploration Into J.B Priestley's Dramatic Methods Within Act 3, 'An Inspector Calls': By Sophie Darch In this essay, I intend to explore the ways in, which drama is brought into J.B Priestley's famous, moralistic play: 'An Inspector Calls'. I will do this by looking specifically at Act 3, which I believe is the climax and most dramatic point in the play. We see the play set in the Birling's home, a highly affluent and socially respected family dwelling. But as the play progresses, we see the family home and personal relationships turn dramatically upside down. Unity is destroyed as the Inspector gradually brings to the surface the characters past behaviour to a certain Eva Smith, or Daisy Renton. The main theme or moral as some may put it throughout the play, is that of the need for social responsibility, and the theory that we are all 'one body' and should look after one another in any way we deem possible. Act 3 is the last piece in the puzzle. By the end of the Act, everything fits neatly into place, only to be dramatically torn apart by the final phone call, which leaves the audience inquisitive and questioning. ...read more.

Middle

Birling: "Look, Inspector- I'd give thousands- yes, thousands" This quote from Arthur Birling clearly reflects, the character's diminishing attitude towards the Inspector. Yes of course he would give lots of money now to help Eva Smith in her troubled situation, but back when she really needed the money, he would not have looked at her twice. It is clearly ironic. Priestly uses this irony through many of the characters within the play. Another example of this would be Sheila's changing attitude and feelings towards her parents after the Inspector has left. The rather agreeable and shallow Sheila begins to show more depth to her character, and a more mature way of handling the situation with her parents. Sheila: "If you want to know, it's you two who are being childish!" The many examples of this type of irony, again reflects the tension building between the characters, and how their personalities have changed or developed since the Inspector's call. The irony simply helps to engage the audience and make them more involved in the play. The Inspector holds the most mystery within the play. Throughout the first two acts, he remains calm and collected, even as the Birling family become increasingly frustrated and hysterical. ...read more.

Conclusion

but with a twist in which we see a family fall apart around the unapparent political mayhem within the so called "Golden Era". The social context of the play (set in a time when there was little state intervention for people like Eva/Daisy) also helps shape our understanding of the play, so that we are able to see a time where social standing was important and also how destructive it can be. It reinforces Priestly's message that we must learn from the mistakes of others. I think that in today's society the play is still relevant as is reflects the idea that not everyone is as quite sure about political issues as they would like to think, which is one of the main concepts of the play. Of course there is no longer as much pressure on being socially accepted as back in the early 1920s, but there are still the worries of a bad reputation or loss of a career surrounding public scandal. I feel that not everyone is as na�ve today as they were in that period which could affect the way in which people would perceive the play, but it think that it is a gripping enough drama to brush aside all of these insecurities and let the moral of the play shine through. 1 ...read more.

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