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An inspector calls

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Introduction

An inspector calls By Makez Rikweda 'An inspector calls' is a moral play about the Birling family and their guest Gerald Croft who are having dinner in celebration of the engagement of Sheila Birling and Gerald Croft. They are all happy and gleeful until they are suddenly interrupted by an inspector who is investigating the death of a girl named Eva Smith. The play slowly progresses from ignorance to knowledge as the inspector slowly unravels the involvement of each member of the family to the girl's suicide. Time, place and action are significant factors of the structure of the play. Priestley highlights the significance of time and the consequences of people's actions by using well known references to events in history such as the sinking of the Titanic and the world wars. He cleverly sets the play before the Second World War yet he wrote it after the Second World War. By doing this it enabled him to put forward his socialist views of social responsibility and use examples of horrors the world faced due to ignorance of social responsibility and selfishness to help influence the audience's opinions and views. The play is set in the Birling's living room and this setting is continuos throughout the play. This may be because Priestley wants people to focus on the moral behind the story rather than the fancy stage setting and props. The play starts out as a straightforward detective thriller with the audience trying to find out who was responsible for the death of Eva Smith yet as the story unravels, the story focuses on the morality of each of the character's actions and the effect these actions had on Eva Smith. By doing this Priestley highlights the importance of these actions and conveys a powerful message of morality. As a director I would start the play with darkness everywhere whilst the curtains are being pulled apart. ...read more.

Middle

I would also have him "hold a glass of champagne in his hand, which he would have raised to show that he is making a toast. The audience would then at this point find it sweet that Mr Birling is happy about the engagement of his daughter to Gerald yet as his speech goes on we get a feeling that there is another reason why Mr Birling is so happy about the engagement. This other reason is revealed as we find out that Gerald's family owns Crofts limited, which has been Birling and Company's (Mr Birlings company) "friendly rivals for some time now". Mr Birling's delight is actually for himself as he thinks that Gerald will bring the two companies together, "no longer competing but working together-for lower costs and higher prices". Once Mr Birling's toast is over, Eric ruins the moment with his funny joke: "All the best! She's got a nasty temper sometimes- but she's not bad really. Good old Sheila!". This leaves Sheila with nothing to toast to so Gerald asks her to toast to him. She then sincerely says "All right then Gerald, I drink to you". Sheila at this moment would be very quiet and genuine as she looks deeply into Gerald's eyes. I would have her raise her glass with one hand to Gerald and with her other hand I would have her reach for Gerald's hand. Then as Gerald replies "Thankyou, and I drink to you- and hope I can make you as happy as you deserve to be", the pleasure and joy should become apparent in Sheila's face with tears coming to her eyes. This pleasure should become even more apparent when Sheila is presented with her wedding ring. Sheila should act like a typical girl and smile whilst she places her ring on her hand and shows it off to her mum. Priestley was a very considerate and compassionate man who strongly believed in social responsibility. ...read more.

Conclusion

Sheila's mother on the other hand is a rather cold woman, who seems to be fake. She gets somewhat embarrassed when Mr Birling tells Edna to "tell cook from me" that it was a "good dinner". The upper classes never acknowledged their staff and for Mr Birling to do this shows how lacking in breeding he really is. Mrs Birling gets a little flustered and this shows how superficial she is. Eric is the only character that remains a little mysterious. He gives the impression that he is unhappy yet he seems to joke around a lot -"steady the buffs". He is hiding something as shown when he tells Mr Birling "I remember" yet when, asked what, he replies "nothing" in a rather confused tone. Gerald quite rightly states that it "sounds a bit fishy to me". Eric can't decide whether or not he is happy or sad, confident or shy. There is something obviously in his past that troubles him. J. B. Priestley makes good use of irony throughout the play. This is the case when the inspector calls, as Mr Birling is just finishing his speech " By the way some of these cranks talk...you'd think everybody has to look after everybody else...communities and all that nonsense". This is ironic as the inspector has the exact opposite views to Mr Birling, which we will find out as the play goes on. The inspector is announced as Inspector Goole, a man who although is not a big man at once "creates an impression of massiveness". Inspector Goole is described as a "man in his fifties, dressed in plain darkish suit of the period". Inspector Goole seems to be a very intense man who makes people uncomfortable by his hard stares. Also his name which is 'Goole' is rather weird and mystifying, which is probably the effect J B Priestley wanted as he made it sound the same as 'ghoul', a type of mystifying ghost. 1 1 ...read more.

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