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Examine Priestly’s Stagecraft In Act 1 of ‘An Inspector Calls’. How does he use dramatic Techniques To Engage The Interest of An Audience.

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Introduction

Examine Priestly's Stagecraft In Act 1 of 'An Inspector Calls'. How does he use dramatic Techniques To Engage The Interest of An Audience. In 'An Inspector Calls J.B. Priestley tries to get the point of socialism across; this is the view that we are all responsible for each other. He uses the harshness of the inspector to get his views across, eventually making the Birlings realise that we all have a duty of care towards other people no matter what age. During Act 1 we get the feeling that things aren't as they should be. For example, the situation between Sheila and Gerald is not at all what it seems. Gerald says that he has been away for the summer on business, but Sheila suspects that maybe it wasn't all business as the stage directions state that she speaks in a 'half serious, half playful tone'. Furthermore, when Sheila is presented with the engagement ring she responds with "is it the one you wanted me to have", suggesting that Gerald has complete control within the relationship. ...read more.

Middle

This suggests that to start with the lighting expresses the situation that everything is all right and 'intimate', but when the inspector arrives the lighting becomes harder symbolising the actions the Birlings have done to contribute towards Eva Smith's death. From the moment the Inspector arrives he takes control of the characters. His answers are short and he makes no attempt to develop a conversation that does not involve the inquiry he is conducting. Additionally, he never conducts two lines of inquiry simultaneously, breaking down each member of the Birling household individually because "one person and one line of inquiry at a time. Otherwise there's a muddle." This is shown when he presents the photograph to each of the family members in turn. For example, when he shows the photograph of the girl to Mr. Birling, Eric and Gerald both try to get a glimpse of the photgraph but the Inspector 'interposes' himself between the two, continuing his desire for ''one line of inquiry at a time." This creates suspense and tension because whilst he deals with one member of the Birling household the audience can suspect and imagine what the other members of the family have done to contribute towards Eva Smith's suicide. ...read more.

Conclusion

These three techniques using language and lexis generate tension as he comes across as omniscient and even supernatural, because he knows things that he can't possibly know. A good example of this is when he makes Sheila admit to getting Eva fired, and then he just says he "had a good idea." But how could he possibly have known it was Sheila because even if she wrote about it in her diary Eva would still not have known Sheila's name. Overall I believe that J.B. Priestley has conveyed his view of socialism expertly by making the Birling's realise that it was all their actions that practically forced Eva Smith to take her own life. Usually this moral subject would be an uninteresting issue, but because Priestley was such a high-quality playwright, by using dramatic tension and interesting language techniques he manages to express his view of socialism across skilfully as well as keeping the reader or audience, whichever way you are experiencing the play, extremely intrigued. This essay was graded B+ by my teacher so with a few alterations could easily be upgraded to an A standard. ...read more.

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