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An Inspector Calls

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In Act 1 if 'An Inspector calls' how does J.B. Priestley use the dramatic devices to convey his concerns and ideas to the member of the audience and explain the power and mystery of the inspector's role throughout? J.B. Priestley, who was born in 1894, was from the generation that witnessed both the First and Second World Wars. Perhaps as a result of this, Priestley developed strong political views from a young age that he wasn't afraid to express. After World war one, he became increasingly interested and concerned in the social state of the country. By 1942 he had set up a new political party, 'the common wealth party' which consisted of a socialist view and strong anti-war messages. During the Second World War he had his own radio show that was cancelled by the BBC because it was too critical of the government. Priestley's play, 'An Inspector Calls' was written in 1945, just after the Second World War. The country was in complete turmoil as it began to repair the havoc nearly six years of war had wreaked. The play was set back in 1912, after the First World War. The significance of these two dates allowed Priestley to include several dramatic techniques and devices surrounding the two wars, especially dramatic irony. The views contained in the play serve as a constant reminder to the audience reading the play script or watching the play that we should learn from history's mistakes and avoid repeating them. ...read more.


The audience watching will know that the ship famously sunk on it's maiden voyage. This beginning speech is probably the most important insight the audience will get into Mr.Birling's character and points of view. He is the prime example of everything Priestley fought against during his lifetime and by portraying him and ignorant and opinionated, he helps to push his own views onto the audience as being the correct principles to follow. The use of this dramatic irony helps to make the audience feel more involved and gives them an advantage over the characters. The dramatic change in atmosphere and general opinions some of the characters hold by themselves caused by the introduction of the Inspector is emphasised by the way Priestley uses tension, and the mysterious presence of the Inspector to reveal how each character reacts differently to him. This leaves the audience curious as to how one man can have such an immense control over other people and a situation. It is at this point that the members of the audience may begin to wonder where Inspector Goole is more than just a normal Police inspector. Although the Inspector causes Mr.Birling's self confidence to transform into anger and defensiveness, he doesn't manage to change his stubborn view that he had no responsibility for Eva Smith's death. Sheila and Eric, on the other hand, who are both young and more open to new ideas, both accept full responsibility for their actions and the effects of these. ...read more.


He used the story of Eva Smith/Daisy Renton to assist the characters in getting back on the right track and allowing them to see that every single person has the potential to cause both good and evil. It is clear to the Inspector that not everyone has got the message, though he is determined to get his point across to them, so repeats the situation all over again in the hope that they will stop and consider what they have done. His warning: "And I tell you that the time will soon come when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish." This is subtly directed at Mr and Mrs Birling and Gerald who were more inclined to ignore the Inspector and not accept the responsibility of Eva's death, and that if it comes to it, they will have to learn their lesson the hard way. The prime aim of this thoughtful play is to emphasise that we are all responsible somewhat for what we do, and one another, whoever you are, every action you do effects the people around you, and Priestley didn't want this important message that he believed so strongly in to ever be forgotten in History, so similar to remembrance day when the nation remembers those who died in the war also being a reminder that we shouldn't revert back to how it was before equality came about, he made sure that his opinion would be recorded in 'An inspector calls' forever and never be forgotten. Elizabeth Gear Page 1 10/20/2008 ...read more.

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