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An Inspector Calls coursework

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Introduction

Using a section from "An Inspector Calls", illustrate how dramatic devices can be used in order to build suspense. "An Inspector Calls" was written in the 1940's by J B Priestley; however it is set in 1912. This was because J B Priestley uses a lot of dramatic irony in this play, which is when the audience are more aware and know of what the situation or circumstances are to come in the future than the characters in the play; what the characters think and their feelings are all ironic because they are different from reality. This was only possible because the play was set in 1912, a time in which rich industrialists like Arthur Birling lived in false security about the future. J B Priestley wanted to unsettle his audience; he wanted them to see how arrogantly they behaved and their mistakes. He also wanted them to look at different perspectives of different situations in life. He wished to make the point that everyone has their responsibilities and that they should fulfil them too. There are a lot of different responsibilities portrayed throughout the play, the responsibilities of an employer, the responsibilities of a father, of a mother, of children, the responsibilities of being a citizen. In the Edwardian era, when the play was set, technology had made a huge improvement and when the 'unsinkable' titanic was launched, the country was full of national pride. The death of a king had also shaken the country, they were uncertain of what to do, or what was to happen. Miners had already had a strike in 1907, and there had been one in 1910 too, which had caused riots frightening the society. There had also been a lot of talk about war, because after the downfall of Napoleon III, there were fears of German denomination. The Edwardian period had an extremely rigid British class system, with there being a huge difference between the rich and poor. ...read more.

Middle

The audience will be left with lots of questions which they will be wandering about. This dramatic device is one of the most pivotal in the whole play. The Inspectors speech also caused a lot of tension and anxiety. He contradicted everything that Mr. Birling believes in and believes that we are all responsible for each other. We are a community that should look after each other. He tells them that "We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. 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 fore and blood and anguish. Good Night." This is probably very harrowing to the audience because they will know that the war did break out afterwards and that there was a lot of blood and anguish. This dramatic irony causes a lot of apprehension and unease. The Inspector has given a warning to the Birlings of events that will happen if they don't change and learn to accept one another. If this lesson was learnt then war would never have happened. J.B. Priestley is trying to put the message across that we are all responsible for everything that happens. It is what we say and do that influences other people. This was the Inspectors philosophy of life which he feels everyone should know. This creates a lot of fear and worry for the Birlings as they are taken aback by what the Inspector has said. He has given them the bitter truth and they are shocked and appalled. I am now going to analyse pages 45 to 49. Mrs Birling in this section is being questioned by the Inspector but she is very arrogant and believes it is no fault of her own the girl is dead. When the Inspector is asking Mrs. ...read more.

Conclusion

When the Birlings look into the possibility of the photograph being of different girls the whole play is in doubt, we don't know what will happen next. These devices add mystery as although they can be seen, we are left in suspense about what will happen next. I feel these devices worked extremely well because although the audience can see them they don't actually see the person on the photo or hear the person on the phone. I think these devices were very successful in the play. At the start of the play the Birlings are shown as the perfect family, but the further you go into the play the more we find out that they are the complete opposite. This creates tension because they are nothing like what we first think they are. Mr. Birling and Mrs. Birling make a big impact throughout the play as they truly only care about themselves and their reputation. Mr. Birling especially is always talking about a "public scandal" and is very sure that he is set to receive a knighthood. This adds to the irony as he is in his own world, where everything is fine and he has no responsibility for any person apart from his "own". Mrs. Birling is a very egotistical, self-important person, very proud, this adds suspense because when she finds out the father of Eva's child is Eric, her world collapses, and she is shocked and appalled and refuses to believe it is true. This is very different from the person she was at the start. The Inspectors speech is another pivotal part in the play. J.B. Priestley is trying to convey the message of responsibility in the play. All of the devices he used were used cleverly and whilst some were devices that we saw, for example the telephone, others were more subtle, like the Inspectors speech. I think J.B. Priestley used these devices very successfully, the devices created a lot of apprehension and uneasiness throughout the play, and they worked very well with the theme that runs throughout the play too; responsibility. ...read more.

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