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an ispector calls essay

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'An Inspector Calls' by J.B. Priestley Although Priestley intends his audience to blame all the principal characters for the girl's death, assess how he has used language, characterisation, stagecraft and other dramatic devices to persuade us that that some seem more responsible than others. In 1944/45, J.B. Priestley wrote the play 'An Inspector Calls'. In this play, it transpires that all of the principal characters-the Birling family and Gerald Croft- are each to a great extent responsible to the death of the girl, who committed suicide after drinking disinfectant. It becomes apparent, however, that the playwright has purposefully and carefully guided his audience to believing that some of the characters are more to blame than others. Apart from the characters actions words, Priestley has cleverly used the devices of stagecraft, lighting and time to influence our opinion. Various aspects of Priestley's background and events that have taken place in his life, led him to write 'An Inspector Calls' and have heavily influenced its' contents. The playwright was brought up in the reign of Queen Victoria in Bradford, Yorkshire, a place similar to the fiction town of Brumley, where 'An Inspector Calls' is set. His father was a socialist and was strongly influenced by this in his upbringing. This affected him so much that he grew up to be a socialist as well. Socialism is the main theme in this play and is the idea that everyone should be treated equally and have the same rights and treatment. Priestley grew up in a time when socialism was only an ideal and in reality, people's social status meant survival in harsh Edwardian times. He wrote this play to show that the world would be a much better place if everyone looked after one another and what tragic consequences can befall of us when people just watch out for themselves. This play is classed in the genre of 'morality plays'. ...read more.


Another technique used by the playwright is the use of a freeze frame. At the end of Act One the Inspector had mentioned the name of the girl-'Daisy Renton'- and Gerald recognised that and instantly 'gave himself away'. Gerald is not willing to give away information away easily and the end of Act One ends with the Inspector looking at him inquiringly and r saying 'Well?'. This is followed by a freeze frame. This makes us, the audience, look at him to and think 'Well? What has he done?' The Inspector has to repeat his last words to get Gerald to confess. We feel a bit annoyed with Gerald because he doesn't want to own up to what he's done. The freeze frame used by Priestley makes him confess because he feels like all eyes are on him. The character whom I believe to be 3rd to blame is Mr Birling. Mr Birling was a Industrialist and a Capitalist. He owned 'Birling and Company' and made lots of money by using 'cheap labour'. The girl was employed by Mr Birling and worked at his factory for over a year. She was a 'good worker' and was promoted to be 'head of a small group of girls'. When she 'suddenly asked for more money', Mr Birling 'refused' because she was already earning the average salary of ' twenty-two and six'. After the girl went on strike, Mr Birling sacked the girl from her job at his factory. He did this because 'she had too much to say'. Mr Birling feels like he's done nothing wrong and that he 'can't accept responsibility'. If he did, he would feel 'awkward' and he'd be in an 'impossible position'. He never blames him self and reckons 'there is every excuse for what he did' and thinks Eric 'is the one to blame for this'. He doesn't care about the girl and just think about what a 'public scandal' it will be and how it's ruined his chance of getting a knighthood. ...read more.


The main reason for Eric being the most to blame for the death of the girl is simply for what his actions did to her. In his own words, 'he got a bit squiffy', the word 'squiffy' suggests he isn't really taking it seriously, and forced himself upon her and treated her like an 'animal' because he could. After discovering he had made her pregnant he gave her stolen money, when she discovered this she couldn't take any more, this suggests that she has better morals than Eric. Although Eric is sorry for what he's done, we cannot for give him for what he's done like we did, for example, with Gerald. At least Gerald 'made her happy for a time and showed her affection', but Gerald did nothing good for her. Without the actions of Eric, the girl's life wouldn't have been so bad, and ultimately, she may have not committed suicide. All the principal characters were all responsible for the suicide of the girl but some more than others. Priestley has used several devices to guide us to this decision, these include language, stagecraft, characterisation and others. Sheila and Gerald have had some part to play in this tragedy, but their involvement was small and has been forgiven. Mr Birling, Mrs Birling and Eric, however, have had a massive part to play in the suicide of the girl. It is terrible that only two of the principal characters, Sheila and Eric, have learned the lesson of the play and Inspector Goole while the rest of the characters, Gerald, Mrs Birling and Mrs Birling all believe that because there wasn't an actual death there actions are now all right. The playwright wrote this play to show his socialist view and various aspects in his life have influenced 'An Inspector Calls'. The message is that everyone should get along and help each other. By the end of the play the audience have learned the lesson from the play, even if some of the characters haven't. Katie Whitehurst 10.1 Mr Lane - 1 - ...read more.

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