• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"An Inspector Calls is a modern morality play disguised as a detective drama." Show how Priestley uses the conventions of the detective story to put over a moral message to the audience.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"An Inspector Calls is a modern morality play disguised as a detective drama." Show how Priestley uses the conventions of the detective story to put over a moral message to the audience. The fact that 'An inspector calls' is a modern morality play disguised as a detective drama, means that the play is written with a unique style. Priestley assists the conventions of the detective story with his intelligent tool of manipulating time. This construction gives a strong moral message to the audience. Priestley includes some basic conventions, such as a protagonist, a victim and also suspects to indicate to the audience that the play is similar to a detective story. One of the reasons that the action of the play is based on an investigation is to not only engage the audience and sustain their interest, but to also create tension and anticipation before the final revelation is revealed. A standard morality play gives messages to the audience that usually teach them a certain lesson that can be used in real life. The resolution of Priestley's play is evidence that there is a morality message to be conveyed. The swift, surprising, ending of the play suddenly puts the audience in the characters' minds. Priestley uses this effect to his advantage by being able to aim the moral message to the audience. ...read more.

Middle

This denouement is enforced by Priestley when connections between suspects and the life of the victim are steadily exposed; this point consequently shocks the observing audience and maintains their attention. As the plot develops the suspects are exposed by the detective and are consequently left feeling responsible and also slightly puzzled. For instance in Act 3 Eric admits: "And I say the girl's dead and we all helped to kill her." Priestley effectively uses this convention of a detective story to create guilt before the twist is revealed at the end of the play. The ending of the play and any confusion is then resolved when the mystery is suddenly solved. This leaves the audience and the characters a moral message to think about. A detective story plot, (a start, development and end) is effective at engaging and satisfying the needs of a theatre audience watching the play. A developing plot builds up tension and then swiftly releases it in a surprising climax. Priestley uses other techniques to depart his play from the detective story. In the play we can observe that Priestley avoids some conventions of a detective story because there is an absence of a crime. This is because the victim Eva Smith was not murdered but instead possibly driven to her devastating suicide. Furthermore, a crime is when the guilty suspects are punished, whereas a moral wrong doing is when no punishment is given and there is a moral lesson to be learnt. ...read more.

Conclusion

The greatest example of a twist is the phone call at the end of the play. This allows the audience and characters to speculate what the meaning of the mystery Inspector will be. The telephone call makes the audience realise that the Inspector was used to send a powerful moral message to the audience. Also they are made to think about their actions in the future as the Birling family have just been given the opportunity to. Priestley draws attention to Eric and Sheila who separate from the others because they are remorseful of their actions and have learnt a lesson. For instance: "Whoever that chap was, the fact remains that I did what I did." Finally, Priestly hints that the Inspector is fake or even imaginary and is only used to portray a message. The inspector's name -'Goole' which could be perceived as 'Ghoul'- leaves the audience asking the question: 'Was the Inspector real?' The successful combination of a modern morality play with a detective drama is able to put over a moral message to the audience. Whilst the conventions of a detective story continue throughout the play, Priestley includes special tools such as his manipulation of time to sustain the audience's interest. Also the audience is engaged because of the gradual development of the plot that leads to a dramatic climax. This final twist is able to deliver the essential, moral message which Priestley uses to teach a lesson to the audiences for usage in their lives. By Chris Monk Chris Monk GCSE English Coursework ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE J.B. Priestley section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE J.B. Priestley essays

  1. How Far Does "An Inspector Calls" Fit Into the Genre of Detective Fiction?

    She is also against the Reforms. Sheila is an emotional young woman who feels deeply distraught by what she did to Eva: "I behaved badly too. I know I did. I'm ashamed of it". This shows that Sheila is aware that her actions helped Eva to commit suicide.

  2. 'An Inspector calls' is set in 1912 and was written for a 1946 audience. ...

    Sheila would also probably behave differently if she was a women living in today's society. Sheila's character is portrayed as very feminine and 'girly'; 'Oh- it's wonderful! Look Mummy- isn't it a beauty? In today's society women, especially of Sheila's age are much more self- confident and independent.

  1. Show how in "An Inspector Calls" Priestley creates dramatic tension through focus on characters, ...

    Eva worked hard, first of all in Birling's factory until Arthur sacked her in September 1910 for asking for higher wages. She had been out of work for two months and was becoming desperate when through good fortune; Eva managed to find employment at Milwards.

  2. What is the moral message Priestly wants us to learn from the play an ...

    Birling knows what she had been talking about. She answered some of the inspector's questions but only briefly. I think Mrs. Birling is quite a genuine character what you see is what you get. My moral for Mrs. Birling is: It is ok even good to look over other's backs,

  1. GCSE English Literature - Twentieth Century Drama "An Inspector Calls is a perfect play. ...

    end, which leaves the audience to wonder and decide on their own conclusion. It has also been very popular due to the use of dramatic irony, when the audience are aware of things that the characters are not. The audience also have knowledge of events, which have not yet occurred

  2. 'How does Priestley use the Inspector dramatically to interest the audience and involve it ...

    Priestley's stage directions portray this: SHEILA (half serious, half playful): Yes- except all last summer, when you never came near me, and I wondered what had happened to you. During this part of the scene there is a celebration, the celebration is to mark Gerald and Sheila's engagement.

  1. An Inspector Calls is a play with strong morals. How does Priestley use Inspector ...

    By presenting the photograph before Birling, the Inspector urges him to confess to knowing and expelling Eva Smith from her position of responsibility because it has become crystal clear to Arthur that Goole is already familiar with his past with Eva Smith.

  2. The message of an inspector calls

    Birling agreeing to it or believing it. He also refers to his central message 'Often if it was me I wouldn't know where to draw the line.' Here he is once again highlighting his central as he is calling criminals and non-criminals one. He is saying there is no difference as they are all one.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work