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Examine How Priestley Uses a Variety of Dramatic Devices To Highlight the Theme of Responsibility In “an Inspector Calls”

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Introduction

Laura Willis Examine how Priestley uses a Variety of dramatic devices To highlight the theme of Responsibility in "An Inspector Calls" Responsible means - 1) looking after a person or something and having to take blame if something goes wrong 2) reliable; trustworthy 3) with important duties "a responsible job" 4) causing something "his carelessness was responsible for their deaths" Responsibility - being responsible - something for which one is responsible for. I think J.B Priestley came across as having number three's definition of responsible. He had "important duties" and a "responsible job". Today's responsibility is different from the responsibility in those days in 1912. Britain was wealthy. There were two classes. Capitalists had everything money, fine clothes, good times. Whereas unfortunate people like Eva Smith had hardly anything. They would have had a hard life. Second class people were lucky if they got two decent meals a day. Socialists (like Priestley) believed everyone should have equal rights and money should be shared across the world and just wealth in one corner of the world. "An Inspector Calls" Priestley isn't trying to advertise socialism but he points out serious disadvantages that allows people of the kind like Eva Smith to even exist alongside the privileged Arthur Birling and his family. The play merely asks at what extent does Eva Smith's tragic death be blamed on the society in which she lived. Society that allowed men like Eric Birling to be rewarded whom exploited the poor for profit and they used the women for their pleasure and their pleasure only. Priestley's main aim was to encourage people to take responsibility for their actions, not to shift the blame on to others. Priestley attempts to convey his attitudes and ideas through the characters in the play. He uses the inspector to voice his own opinions. The Birling's are used to show how not to behave. ...read more.

Middle

Gerald is a character in the play whose opinions are different to judge, because he has a motive for stating ideas that are different to what he actually believes. He tries to please Mr & Mrs Birling with what he says and does. He comes out of the interview probably better than any other character simply because he did not harm Eva Smith/Daisy Renton like the others did. I think although we notice several times that he is seen to be in favour of Mr & Mrs. Birling, on other occasions Gerald is privately having similar thoughts like Eric and Shelia but probably doesn't show this to keep in favour with Arthur and Sybil Birling. The inspector performs a very important speech before he leaves that covers all the main themes of the play and it allows Priestley to get his message across. What he says his powerful and dramatic and I think it is quite like a political speech. Why is it so powerful and dramatic? Well because of the use of "we and us" and memorable phrases like "fire blood and anguish". Priestley's speech is quite important. He explains about life and responsibility. "Their suffering, and chance of happiness, all intertwined with our lives and what we think and say and do. We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for one another". Priestley here wants to get across the fact that everyone needs to use collective responsibility in order to keep peace in the world. After the inspector has left the audience get to see the characters true personalities. The inspector's speech would have provoked much discussion amongst audiences because of the powerful language used and because he left the scene directly after speaking. J.B Priestley did this sirreprublsy play in three continuous acts for many reasons. He wants to keep the audience watching to find out what happens right till the end. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think one theory might be that the inspector represents the truth and isn't a real person but is a respective of justice. The play was to highlight the problems of class divinise, Priestley wanted his audiences to learn something from his play/s. Basically, the moral of "An Inspector Calls" is that no matter what class, race, nationality a person maybe we are all equal and that we should stick together. Priestley got this moral across in his last speech. "Their suffering, and chance of happiness, all intertwined with our lives and what we think and say and do. We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for one another". He did but there will always be people like the Birling's. The audience were to feel the sadness and torture of Eva Smith. Priestley intended them to see what evil, stuck people the Birling's were. The a striking point about "Inspector Goole's" character is his involvedness. A real police officer would not get so involved. A further point to note is his lack of respect towards the Birling's. In those days people with high class like the Birling's would have had more respect from a police officer. "(very sternly) Her position now is that she lies with a burnt-out inside on a slab" .............................. .............."You mustn't try to build up this kind of wall between us and that girl. If you do then the Inspector will just break it down. And it'll be worse when he does". "I don't understand. (to inspector) Do you?" "Yes. And she's right." I enjoyed reading the book as I found it very interesting especially the strange character of the inspector. I am glad that I read it but I think it wasn't very good how they keep us in suspense at the ending. Hopefully there maybe a "An Inspector Calls" 2nd to tell us all what happened next. Watching the televised version helped me to understand a little how the character would of acted it out in real life and how they really did come across to audiences. ...read more.

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