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An Inspector Calls

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Introduction

An Inspector Calls- J.B Priestley 'An Inspector Calls' written by J.B Priestley in 1945, was set in the Edwardian era in the year 1912. The author chose to set it in this time because it illustrated clearly a way of life in which he despised especially the huge differences between the lower and upper classes. The rich Edwardians were full of selfishness, greed, lack of awareness; they had the self-satisfied view that each person was responsible only for themselves and their family. Looking at the era from a different perspective the conditions for the lower class were dreadful. Their wages were minimum and their lifestyles were pitiful. In Priestley's eyes the rich were getting richer and the poor were getting poorer. This was due to the industrial workers putting up prices and lowering wages. There are two main reasons why Priestley wrote this play. The main one being to entertain his audience. The second one was to express a point of view. Priestley was very critical with those with wealth and status who refused to acknowledge how their power and privilege could adversely affect the lives of others less fortunate than themselves. He and many others saw the world as a place where responsibility for all is shared by all. The play was wrote in 1945 because he wanted to warn his audiences of the threat if they carried on the way of life in which they were. The play introduces two choices in which they themselves could choose to happen, they could return to the ways of the Edwardian era or they could move forward for the best into a better era. ...read more.

Middle

The main purpose of the change of lighting is to create a different mood or cause tension around particular characters. When the Inspector is introduced the lighting turns from a calm pale pink to harder, brighter pink. This shows that the mood is tense and it shows that the Birlings' can't hide from Inspector Goole, the audience or each other. Their guilt then becomes present amongst each other. Another dramatic device Priestley uses is sounds. Doorbell effects are used several times throughout the play when characters enter the scene. Each time the bell rings something is changes dramatically, when the Inspector rings the doorbell and is shown in, for example, the mood of the evening changes from being happy to extremely serious. What is revealed is something that the Birlings' will have to live with, knowing that they contributed to the death of a young girl. The ringing of the doorbell is a common device in most homes; therefore it is a device used as an everyday event, when it continuously sounds and something changes dramatically it makes a dramatic device. Somebody from the outside world, somebody from the lower community enters the Birlings' world, inside their own home, someone who has more power than them in this instance. The doorbell rings and the Inspector arrives immediately after Mr Birling has made his speech, ' When things are so much easier, is that a man has to make his own way, has to look after himself -and his family too, of course, when he has one-and so long as he does that he won't come to much harm'. ...read more.

Conclusion

The character of Eva Smith is a dramatic device in itself. Eva is different from everyone in this play. She shows the difference between the lower and upper classes. Her character attracts sympathy from the audience, each of the Birlings' did something wrong to her to make the audience feel like this. Gerald and Eric just use her then never bother about her again. Mr Birling takes her job for granted and insisted she was to leave after asking for a well deserved pay rise. Mrs Birling doesn't care about her problems when she comes to talk to her about it, she refuses to help her. The character of Eva Smith shows that the lower class community were often better people that the higher class community. Priestley had made Eva Smith the complete opposite character to Mr Birling to clearly show whom is the better person. In conclusion I think that the whole family are to blame for the death of Eva Smith. They all had a hand in making Eva's life a living hell. You could blame Gerald for breaking her heart or you could blame Mrs Birling for giving her the final push or you could even blame Eva herself for thinking there was no other alternatives. Priestley uses methods in this play that would leave his audience thinking for a long time after viewing the play. The way he used dramatic devices to convey his own message and opinions was an excellent way to get his audience thinking. He left open ends to whom the Inspector was, simply because he needed to get his message across and if he did this would leave then to think about the issues of socialism. ...read more.

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