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An Inspector Calls

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GCSE English Coursework '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' by J. B. Priestley is a play about a girl who commits suicide and a police investigation into this suicide. The play can be placed in the detective thriller genre because it shows things that are present in this genre, such as the fact that someone dies, the police investigate the death, and we find out the cause of death. In addition, as the play progresses it becomes a 'Whodunit?' because, as the audience slowly learn, all the characters in this drama had a part to play in the girl's suicide. This whodunit style keeps the audience interested in the play by building up suspense and keeping the audience guessing. However, the play is more than just a detective thriller or whodunit? It is also a morality play because the main theme is responsibility and how our actions can cause a chain of events that affect other people. Priestley uses the seven deadly sins - pride, sloth, gluttony, envy, covetousness, lust, and greed - to show how the Birlings have done morally wrong and how they need to take responsibility for their actions. I feel that, among other things, morality is one of Priestley's main concerns for this play. His other concern is how higher social classes had power over the lower social classes as Priestley feels that this is wrong and voices this opinion through Inspector Goole by teaching the Birlings and Gerald Croft, high middle class people, the error of their ways towards Eva Smith, a working class citizen. ...read more.


The use of the doorbell as a sound effect will create some form of tension with the audience as once they hear this sound they all of a sudden start to enquire 'Who is it?' 'What could they want?' This will, in turn, draw the viewers into the plot and get them more involved in the play. Plus, the timing of the doorbell in connection to Mr Birling's speech has a dramatic impact on the scene because Priestly has, once more, used irony as it is the police and the start of a scandal and the inspector will soon show Mr Birling that it is not right for everyman to look after just himself. Therefore, Priestley has used the doorbell as a dramatic device to draw the audience into the plot and build tension. When Inspector Goole enters the stage, he is there with Mr Birling, Eric and Gerarld Croft. The inspector informs them of the suicide of Eva Smith and the plot starts to unfold. The significance of the name Eva Smith is important because as the inspector says at the end of the play, 'But remember this. One Eva Smith has gone - but there are millions and millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with us'. This shows us that Eva Smith is being used as a sample of the common person. In addition, the Inspector has a specific interviewing techniques, in which he only talks to one person at a time about the death. This shows the inspector is in charge of the situation and is in control. ...read more.


He uses the conventions of a whodunit to keep the audience guessing and build suspense. Then, Priestley heightens this suspense by adding a supernatural element. He uses the sound-effect of a doorbell to create tension and make an ironic situation. Priestley also uses irony to ridicule certain characters. The character's exits and entrances are used for dramatic impact and Priestley uses the character of Inspector Goole as a dramatic device that conveys his opinion on morals. Therefore, we can see that Priestley uses many dramatic devices to convey his concerns and ideas to the audience. Furthermore, Priestley highlights how the Birlings and Gerald Croft are guilt of the seven deadly sins. But, Priestley also shows how people can change and become more responsible. He shows this in Shelia's transformation from guilt to responsibility. I feel that the audiences viewing the play in 1945 would have been a very mixed crowd of feelings towards the play, some of who would have been disgusted at how their social class was portrayed. But, I feel that mostly people would have come out the play and taken a long hard look at themselves in order to see if they are like the people shown in the play. I still think the Priestley's ideas are somewhat relevant in 2006 because we still have this social divides. One is between the southern half of the country and the northern half of the country; another is between the celebrity rich and the unemployed poor. I think that once people see this play that a few of them will realise that 60 years on, we have changed a great deal, yet, we still haven't abolished the ways that make a big divide between people. And we still have not learnt to be ... Morally responsible ... ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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