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An Inspector Calls- Explore Priestley's dramatic methods in the opening scene of the play (up to and including Edna's announcement of Inspector Goole) - How does Priestley shape the audience's expectations for the rest of the play?

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Coursework Mark Butcher An Inspector Calls- Explore Priestley's dramatic methods in the opening scene of the play (up to and including Edna's announcement of Inspector Goole): How does Priestley shape the audience's expectations for the rest of the play? The opening scene of this play is very cleverly written by Priestley, it sets the scene for the rest of the play and drops subtle hints throughout of what may happen later on in the plot. We watch this play in hindsight, because it was shown for the first time in 1946, but was set in 1912, which is something to bare in mind while looking at dramatic techniques, such as irony. In this essay I'm going to explore Priestley's dramatic methods in the opening scene of the play, right up to when Edna introduces Inspector Goole. I am going to try and see how Priestley shapes the audiences expectations for the rest of the play, and in particular reference to characterisation, plot and social/political themes. I will be trying to analyse the effects of dramatic devises and structures, I will be looking at the layers of meaning expressed in language, ideas and themes. I will try to reflect on the effects of character and action and discuss the social and historical context. ...read more.


Mr Birling treats and talk to Eric in a very patronising manner, and later on this leads to tension between the two, which is one of the factors that shows us how little the bond is between them, and as the play goes on you see them drift further and further apart from each other. Eric mainly feels excluded from the social interactions that go on between Gerald and Mr. Birling. This does eventually lead to a rift between Mr Birling and Eric, which we see later in the play lead him to turn on his father at points. Within the main plot around Eva Smith and the fake suicide (as well as in the opening) we can gain a lot of insight to what the life was like socially and economically in 1912 (which is when the play is set). We learn how the Birling's become adrift from the rest of the community, and this is a lesson, which the inspector is trying to teach them (about community involvement), and the importance of how Mr Birling became very self centred, leading to a lack of responsibility, which is seen well in the quote: '...you'd think everybody has to look after everybody else, as if we were all mixed up together like bees in a hive - community and all that nonsense.' ...read more.


You can see how Priestly wants to shape the audiences expectations for the rest of the play; he wants people to know that Mr Birling is a narrow-minded ignorant businessman, who has no idea about the future, which is shown well by the dramatic irony. He wants to show how there was a big social divide between the men and the women, and he also wants to show how Eric would become to be looked down upon at all times by his father in a patronising manner. I think in particular the use of irony brings out the worst in Mr Birling, and this is a good way of Priestley showing Mr Birling's true character with out telling the audience straight out, what kind of a man he is. He wanted the inspector to have an air of importance about him, which is why he used such dramatic methods to introduce him, as soon as Edna introduced him he was to be known as the domineering character, with the way the lighting and sounding changed to bring an air of tension about the set in particular. It is easy to see how the more times you watch or read this play you understand it better, as it is so well written that it may take a few times to truly discover all the hidden layers of meaning. Mark Butcher. ...read more.

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