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An Inspector Calls - J B Priestley.

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An Inspector Calls - J B Priestley What do you think the message of the play is and how does Priestley give it expression, through the action and the characters? Include in your answer examples of how, as a director, you would best convey the message to the audience. The message of the play is to look out for others not just yourself. An Inspector Calls was written in 1940 and is set in 1912 Brumley in the Midlands. The family are the Birlings who are an upper middle class family. The head of the family is a Mr. Birling who's a factory owner. All the characters are strong and have high profiles in local society and live in a suburban house. Family life was very proper and everyone respected one another. In the beginning of the play the Birling family are celebrating the engagement of their daughter, Sheila, to Sir Gerald Croft the son of a business tycoon. As they are celebrating there is a knock at the door, it's someone who calls himself Inspector Goole. He tells the family about the suicide of a lower class young girl. The family believe they've nothing to do with it. The Inspector proves the Birling family wrong! Each of the Birling family members all have their own individual reasons that link them to the young girls suicide. ...read more.


She talked a lot about herself and Gerald gave a set of rooms for her to stay in. when Gerald broke off the affair she seemed unwounded by this. When Gerald is describing how beautiful she was, he gets enormously upset in realising that she's dead. "... sorry ...I ...well, I've suddenly realised... taken it in properly... that she's dead..." This shows us, the audience, that he's totally astonished by her passing away. As a director I would make Gerald's actions extremely uneasy, tripping up on a few words and stuttering his speech now and then. Mrs. Birling is quite an intruding and presumptuous character and always wants to be part of the action. When Eva Smith goes to Mrs. Birling for help at the Women's Charity Organization she refuses to help her. Like Mr. Birling, Mrs. Birling denies all responsibility on her part, she says... "... before you start accusing me of anything... that it wasn't me who had turned her out of her employment..." As a director I would make her not face the Inspector when he is speaking to her, showing the audience that she is intimidated by him and is also trying to ignore and disregard him. Eric is the youngest child of the Birling family and it's revealed that he is a heavy drinker. ...read more.


This adds to the message of the play because now the Inspector has gone, they are all now worrying about themselves and forgetting that a young girl has just died. The twist at the end of the play opens up many questions. Who was the Inspector?, Why was he there?, What did he want?, Why did he come to the house in the first place? In conclusion I believe that Priestley conveys his message effectively because the impact that comes with the play is transferred to the audience making them think about it. This then leaves them wondering and therefore thinking about the message. I believe that this is a successful play because it holds the audiences attention throughout. Even though the whole play is set in the Birling residence, the impact comes when each member of the Birling family and Gerald confess their secrets to the rest of the family. Once one member of the family confess their atrocities your attention is automatically transferred to another character who is about to confess their secret which lead to the suicide of Eva Smith. The twist at the end of the play completely steers the audience off-track and are now left wondering what on earth has happened. When the audience leaves they are left thinking about what has taken place in the play and are also left speculating the message of the play. Ian Russo 10SP/GA 29/10/2002 ...read more.

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