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Discuss the popularity of the play "An inspector calls" focus on characterisation, structure and dramatic qualities.

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Discuss the popularity of the play "An inspector calls" focus on characterisation, structure and dramatic qualities. An inspector calls by John Boynton Priestley was written in 1945 and is based around the Birling family, and their involvement in the death and downfall of Eva Smith. The play is set in the industrial town of Brumley in 1912 before the outbreak of the First World War. An inspector calls has proven its popularity as it has been show in theatres across the world for over fifty years, it is also going on a 25 week tour of England and Scotland in 2003. The play has been extremely popular, as it has won nineteen major theatre awards in London and New York. The play was first shown in 1945, it is a popular detective play, although it doesn't fall into the whodunit genre. As there isn't a murder that is arrested at the end of the play, it is meant to show the audience the errors of their ways and how destructive social class is. The play is also based on morality plays of the late medieval times. ...read more.


The inspector introduces a moral aspect to the play this makes him different to an ordinary police officer. He is more concerned with the difference between right and wrong than what is legal or not. The inspector has a very abrasive nature, he is more concerned about truth and justice than social conventions. The inspector represents the character's conscience this brings the audience closer to the minds of the characters and into the play. J.B Priestley has brought another style into the play, this is typical of the morality plays of the late middle ages, these plays were to show the audience the condition of man. Priestley brings a religious element into the play, the need for goodness and temptation of evil. This is shown as each of the characters suffer from one of the seven deadly sins (pride, sloth, gluttony, envy, covetousness, lust and anger). I think that Priestley intended the audience to take a modern moral from the play about the horrors of war. Eva Smith / Daisy Renton brings a mysterious edge to the play, this creates intrigue. She never appears on stage and the audience never finds out her real name, but the play revolves around the last two years of her life. ...read more.


J.B Priestley used this play to show his audience his views on society and its destructiveness. He used views of typical archetype woman (Mrs Birling) this shows that many people in this era deliberately blinded themselves to the world around them. He confronts the stereotype that women should not become pregnant outside of marriage and that they should not be rejected by society. J.B Priestley uses the seven deadly sins in each of the character's personalities, he uses moral issues, this gives the audience something to relate to and this in turn makes the play more popular. The play shows how high society were na�ve and wrong, however this message has become less over the years as the audiences have differed. The audiences in 1945 were straight out of war and instead of Mr Birling's message "look after yourself" were disregarded, as people wanted to look after each other. I think that J.B Priestley used this play as a reminder not to go back to the way things were before, all of these facts relate to how the audience felt at the time this gives us an insight into peoples attitudes and how they have changed. This has boosted the popularity of the play over the fifty years it has been shown at theatres around the world. Catherine Lowther 10M ...read more.

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  1. How does Priestley create tension in the play through characterisation, structure and atmosphere?

    Then there is the son of the family, Eric. He is characterised in his early twenties, he is portrayed to the audience to be not quite at ease, half shy but also half assertive. He is seen as the baby of the family who doesn't seem to take anything in, but really he does.

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

    Arthur is surprised that anyone should question his actions, " Did you say 'Why?" When told of Eva's death, Arthur "can't accept any responsibility", even though he did play a part by sacking her. The Inspector's questioning along with his son Eric's harsh attitude, "Why shouldn't they try for higher wages?"

  1. Is an Inspector Calls an example of a well-made play?

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  2. "An Inspector Calls" - issues raised in the play concerning the social structure ...

    Throughout the play the three unities of time, place and action are used to great effect by Priestley. Firstly, the play is all in 'real-time', at no point in the play do you jump in time and as a member of the audience you feel you are watching the drama of one evening in a 1912 household.

  1. 'An Inspector Calls' has been described as a 'wellmade' play. Discuss this description of ...

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    They would have thought the revelations on stage weren't as shocking as we perceive them today. This is because it was considered more acceptable then for the upper classes to act in the self-opinionated way that the Birling family does.

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