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An Inspector Calls

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Introduction

From a close examination of Act 1 of 'An Inspector Calls' discuss Priestley's dramatic techniques and explain how an understanding of the historical and social context helps to shape the audience's response to the scene and the play as a whole. "An Inspector Calls" is a play by J.B Priestley set in 1912. It is about a wealthy family sitting down at the dining table after dinner with an unexpected visitor entering and disturbing the mood. In this play, Priestley is trying to communicate a message of responsibility towards others and taking liability for our own actions. This style of writing is called a didactic or morality play. Preistley was influenced to write this play in 1945, after having witnessed the disturbing and terrible images of both World Wars as a front line soldier; therefore Preistley was determined to share his experiences with other people. It is significant in "An Inspector Calls" that the audience is aware of the events that transpired between the time the play is set and the time that the play was written, as this aids the audience in gaining a better perception and becoming conscious of irony that occurs in the play. ...read more.

Middle

The Inspector's name, "Goole" immediately creates a gloomy and mysterious atmosphere. The word "Goole" is a pun on the word "ghoul" which is often associated with ghosts or spirits. The Inspector might represent Eva Smith's spirit and is possible communicating the pain she has suffered as a result of the Birling Family's disregard. The Inspector may also be looked upon as a representation of mankind's conscience. The use of the Inspector's character is a powerful technique Priestley employs to communicate one of his moral views. The Inspector uses irony to make the characters feel tense. The Inspector makes the characters feel uncomfortable by twisting their words. Birling states that the lower-class citizens will be asking for more in the near future, "They'd soon be asking for the earth", the Inspector replies with, "It's better to ask for the earth than take it.". The Inspector comments in this way in order to try and make the Mr. Birling feel guilty for keeping the majority of the profit for himself, this quotation also links in, when we find out that Eric has been stealing. However, Birling is surprised, as he has never had anyone speak to him with such disrespect before, especially from a policeman who is looked upon as a lower class citizen. ...read more.

Conclusion

The relationships between the characters seem to change quite a lot throughout the play. We also see conflict between the Inspector and Mr. Birling. "I don't like that tone." This shows Mr. Birling's determination towards portraying his higher status role. He wishes to keep authority as he is of a higher social standing than Inspector Goole, and believes that the police Inspector should know his place in society. We see the Inspector infuriating Mr. Birling to a point where he feels he needs to regain the authority. The Inspector replies to questions with short, simple and clipped answers, "some of them-yes". Mr. Birling feels that speaking to him like that is rudeness. This creates tension because the audience understands that conflict produces an uneasy atmosphere. As a whole, the entire scene is made more dramatic through all of the techniques combined. I believe there are two main techniques that create significant tension. The first technique is the portrayal and actions of the Inspector. This leads to an intimidating atmosphere, which manifests tension in both the character and audience. The second technique is the ironic mentioning of events in historical context. The audience is aware of the devastating events that come to pass after 1912, but the character's disregard, especially Birling, creates drama through their ignorance. ?? ?? ?? ?? An Inspector Calls Andrew Buglass ...read more.

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