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An Inspector Calls

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Introduction

An Inspector Calls 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? An Inspector Calls is a play written in 1945 by the author J.B. Priestley. An Inspector Calls is a drama; however, since it contains so many evident political references, it could be considered to be an unconventional drama. It also falls under the genre of a mystery thriller as the integral question throughout the play regards who is responsible for someone's death. The play is set in 1912, in Edwardian England. This was a difficult time for Britain; it was a period when there were many strikes, food shortages, and great political tension. Similarly, the time when the play was written, 1945, just after the Second World War, was also a time of great disarray. Priestley utilises this to propound socialism (his political outlook). J.B Priestley had very strong political and sociological views, and these views underpin the themes that impact so profoundly upon the audience's interpretation of the play. He also had particularly strong views about social inequality in Britain. ...read more.

Middle

This gives the impression of exposure and the revelation of truth. These changes bear great significance as they indicate to the audience a sudden change in the turn of events. The pivotal moment in the turning of events is the ring of the doorbell. Priestley uses this dramatic effect skilfully. He describes it in his stage directions as 'the sharp ring of the front door bell.' This sound suddenly cuts the atmosphere of self-satisfaction and warmth. The doorbell signifies an abrupt turn of events, and the end of the 'innocent' dinner. Another dramatic technique that Priestley uses adroitly is that of the introduction of a new character. This again aids the transition of atmosphere. When the Inspector arrives the behaviour of the characters immediately begins to change. Birling starts off reasonably courteous, but quickly becomes curt and irritable: He says 'Yes, yes, but I don't understand why you should come here...' and then later on he becomes openly rude to the Inspector. The Inspector also has an effect on Birling's political and social outlook. When Eric brings up what Birling was saying before the inspector arrived he responds hastily, 'Yes, well, we don't need to go into all of that.' ...read more.

Conclusion

In this way, Priestley further discredits the Birlings' views, and thus ridicules their political stance. This also adds intrigue and drama to the play, and engages the audience in the unfolding plot. In Act One, Priestley subtly changes the audience's opinion of the playwright. He does this using an array of dramatic devices. One of the prime devices used to do this, is the juxtaposition of Birling's character (and thus his political outlook), with that of the Inspector. Because of Birling's bigoted and uncouth manner, he instantaneously loses the audience's favour. Conversely, the Inspector's courteous manner and his quiet, probing temperament, immediately endear to him the audience, and thus validate his political message. Priestley uses a range of techniques to interest and involve the audience; an excellent example of this is the suspense at the end of Act One, the conclusion keeps the audience on the edge of their seats, and draws them into the plot. Priestley uses these techniques to interest the audience and as a result, interest them in his political views. In my opinion, the play and its message are as relevant today as in the day it was written. The message of capitalist bigotry, lack of communal responsibility, and parsimony is enormously relevant in an age where money is more important than the welfare of others. Priestley's political message of communal responsibility is definitely significant to today's society. Avi Rosten ...read more.

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