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

Compare and contrast the characters of Inspector Goole and Mr Birling in Act One. How does J.B Priestly use dramatic devices to help shape an audiences' response to views presented in this play.

Extracts from this document...


Compare and contrast the characters of Inspector Goole and Mr Birling in Act One. How does J.B Priestly use dramatic devices to help shape an audiences' response to views presented in this play. J.B Priestly's play was set in 1912 but written in 1945. The President at the time was called Herbert Asquith. The Titanic was built and nicknamed, 'The Unsinkable'. It crashed on its first commercial journey on an iceberg and sunk, more than a hundred were unfound. It was just before World War 1 broke out against Germany. In 1945, World war 2 had just ended. Thousands upon thousands had perished in the war and the country was grieving its vast loses, still pondering the horrific situation upon which they had been left in. The country was brought together in sadness and grieving. Britain in 1912 was a nation divided by class. Poverty was no longer the fault of the poor but the fault of society Britain had created. While the poor suffered, the rich and middle class enjoyed a lifestyle which even people today would envy. Poverty ravished the country. This was made to a great extent worse by World war 1 and 2. Priestly, through this play was trying to show the appalling fault of society. The extremes and ignorance of the Capitalist views and that unless it stopped this kind of poverty and war would continue happening. He was trying to convey to the audience his Socialist views. By undertaking this, he could outline all the negative points of Capitalist ideas and at the same time highlight all the good points about the Socialist ideas, effectively demonstrating the potential of Socialist views and subconsciously allowing people to think twice about Capitalism. The Inspectors name, Goole, is a dramatic device used in order to express to the audience that there is a kind of mysterious nature about him. The Goole name relating to such as a ghost as it sounds a lot like 'ghoul'. ...read more.


There'll be peace and prosperity and rapid progress everywhere." In 1940, five years before this book was written, World War 2 was just beginning. There is no peace and prosperity and 'rapid progress.' Ironically every view he has is known to the audience to be false. Mr Birling has immense anticipation about what the future holds for him as this also effects his own business. This irony that is shown has the effect of making the audience ignore Mr Birling and his ideologies. Arthur Birling endeavours to keep labour costs down. "It is my duty to keep labour costs down, and if I'd agreed to this demand for a new rate we would have added about 12% to our labour costs." This shows he is a 'hard headed' business man and that the only thing he is interested in is his business and money. We can see by this that Priestly obviously very anti-Capitalist. He opposes all that Mr Birling has to say and rejects all Capitalist views that are put his way. The Inspector feels that the Birling's are all responsible for the death of Eva Smith. He keeps relating back to the pain and suffering Eva Smith endured and used guilt as a major part of trying to get the Birling's to feel responsible for the death of Eva Smith. He says various things to Sheila and Mr Birling in act1 to demonstrate what he thinks and who he feels is responsible for the suicide of Eva Smith. The Inspector states after Mr Birling says that Sheila and the rest can't be much help "The girls dead though" Sheila replies "...You talk as if we were responsible." He also disagrees with Mr Birling's assumption that his discharge of her nearly 18 months ago had nothing to do with Eva Smiths suicide, "Obviously it has nothing to do with the wretched girls suicide" " No, sir. ...read more.


The contrast between Mr Birling and the Inspector is very significant throughout the play and plays a major role in helping the play to achieve the moral values it benefits from. Hidden meanings and messages are scattered during the play and Priestly does very well to get them all across to the audience. Dramatic devices are a very important part of the play and Priestly does very well to manipulate the audiences response. The audience will expectantly leave the play with the Socialist views and think that the Capitalist views are immoral. Priestly succeeds in this by slyly using the dramatic devices to make the disadvantages of Capitalism stand out. At no point was there a dramatic device which highlight a bad point of Socialism. Only the good points would be picked up on which makes the play extremely effective at the task Priestly set it to. The Inspector is the embodiment of Priestly's views. Priestly is very successful in making the Inspector very ominous and something not to mess with but take very seriously. Also the fact that the Inspector is a fake and no-one knows who he is and why he did this to the Birling family, conveys yet more morals, it shows that this person was trying to do what is right and for some reason was sent there to help the Birlings and Croft to see their faults in life so that it can stop. The Inspector is the embodiment of Priestly's views, because of this, the Inspector is very successful in what he was meant to achieve as Priestly wrote him that way in order to convey socialism to his audience. His views were also very successful because of the achievement of the Inspector in the play. As we live our lives, people enter it and leave it just as we have entered their lives. Some just come and go, but some leave footprints on our hearts and they shall be with us forever, our life is shaped by the people we meet, our friends, enemies, teachers or relatives, "We do not live alone". 10Wa1 Set1 Ms Kapadia ...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. Discussthe role of the Inspector in the play 'An Inspector Calls'

    She is constantly being talked about as if she isn't there, and is told what she feels. "She's had a long, exciting and tiring day ...and now she's obviously had as much as she can stand". Gerald told the inspector what Sheila was feeling, and why her behaviour was the way it was.

  2. Free essay

    "AN INSPECTOR CALLS" By J. B. Priestly has been described as a play of ...

    Eric, the last "victim", is the one to bring the drama together. Being the father of a dead baby, it seems not so much to bother him. Probably because his relationship was made of a one night fling where he "made love to her".

  1. Compare and contrast the characters of Mr. Birling and inspector Goole. How does Priestley ...

    Very nice good dinner too, Sybil tell cook from me". This is a perfect example when he compliments the cook. Also when the inspector arrives Birling is very uptight as he cares for his reputation especially with his knighthood coming up " I might find my way onto the next honours list.

  2. Do you agree that Eva Smith is presented as a victimin the play 'An ...

    at that time by society, especially wealthy members of the public with high social statuses such as the Birlings. The Inspector targets each member of the Birling family and shows how they, as individuals, victimised Eva Smith and made her life harder.

  1. How has JB Priestly developed the character of Arthur Birling in Act One, through ...

    "The Titanic-she sails next week-unsinkable-absolutely unsinkable." Priestly writing the play in 1945 fully well knows that the Titanic sunk, and also the audience know this, so this makes Birling look like a stupid fool. He also says, "Not a few German officers talking nonsense and a few scaremongers making a

  2. Examine How Priestley Uses a Variety of Dramatic Devices To Highlight the Theme of ...

    "Germans don't want war. Nobody wants war except some half-civilized folks in the Balkans. And why? There's too much at stake these days. Everything loose and nothing gain by war". "And I say there isn't a chance of war". As the play was set before the war but published after people reading and watching the play know that Mr.

  1. Trace the development of Sheila throughout the play, and discuss her function as a ...

    This statement directly opposes her father's beliefs, and up until this point, her own beliefs. A daughter who disobeys her father is one who is growing up to have a mind of her own - exactly what Sheila had been lacking up to that point.

  2. An Inspector Calls: In act one of An Inspector Calls how does J.B Priestley ...

    It seems that the inspector is not just out to solve a crime but to teach a lesson to the Birlings about the theme of reliance on each other and how we are responsible for everybody else. In act one Gerald is not actually questioned but Gerald is set up

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