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Explore How Priestley Dramatises the Themes and Issues in 'An Inspector Calls'

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Explore How Priestley Dramatises the Themes and Issues in 'An Inspector Calls' 'An Inspector Calls' written by John Boynton Priestley in 1945 was depicted as set in 1912, two years before the commencement of World War I when there was very high unemployment in Britain and the Suffragette Movement's activities were peaking. The play was first performed in Moscow in 1945 because of the lack of availability of a suitable theatre in London but despite this, the London premiere followed in 1946 a year later. The play was well acclaimed in Moscow in 1945 as its setting was during a period when the Russian Revolution had taken place in 1917. The play sent an important message to its audience and others about how the country should be looking after its citizens and how unfortunate people like Eva Smith should not be forced to commit suicide through destitution and homelessness. The play is about a wealthy family celebrating the engagement of the businessman, Arthur Birling's daughter Sheila Birling. This proves to be a horrifying and revealing experience for the family as they learn that they have all played part in the suicide of a young girl called Eva Smith. After the cunning inspector brings about confession of all the members of the family he leaves instantly in a peculiar way. They later find out that he was not a real inspector and by calling up the infirmary it becomes known that no girl of Eva Smith's name or description had committed suicide. The parents, turning to their old arrogant selfish ways receive a call from the infirmary a while later saying that a young girl had just died by drinking strong disinfectant (the way the inspector said how Eva died). The play is set in three acts. The main setting (the dining room) does not change however the family in chronological order find out how they helped in the demise of a young girl of approximately Sheila's age (early twenties). ...read more.


In 1912 the Suffragette Movement (political movement in Britain that demanded the right of the vote for women. The term is specifically applied to members of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), the most notorious of the women's suffrage groupings, who campaigned for the parliamentary vote to be given to women on the same terms as it was granted to men) and was at its most violent. Sheila even though she was upper class had few rights but Eva Smith being working class had even fewer rights. Eva was very vulnerable as she was a single working girl with no family and was at risk of being mistreated by voracious men like Mr Birling or by foolish men like Eric and Gerald. In 1912 people who were ill, unemployed or homeless had no Welfare State to turn to. They had to go to charity organisations like Mrs Birling's which raises for and gives aid to 'deserving causes' but in fact most do it for a good reputation for their family and as a pass time. Since there was no free health care, no income support or unemployment benefits the only help possible were these charity organisations. The only place Eva Smith could turn to being pregnant and with no money were places like Mrs Birling's charity. The entrance of the inspector at the end of act one is so dramatic because the name that he had mentioned, Eva Smith's new, changed name Daisy Renton and this name was familiar to Gerald Croft. As the audience finds out Gerald was familiar with Daisy Renton we know that they knew each other and we would soon find out their connection and story. The entrance of Eric in the end of act two is also very dramatic as we find out that Eric was the young man who got unfortunate Eva Smith pregnant and as Eric had just entered the house we knew we were going to find out what had happened and what the inspector was going to do. ...read more.


If I was to direct this play I would use many dramatic devices like dramatic irony because I find dramatic irony to be comic and every audience would enjoy seeing an arrogant man proved wrong. Stage directions would also be helpful as the person acting would understand their role in the play better and would know exactly what to do. The stage directions can also help the audience see a clearer image of the person like when the inspector first entered. I do not think lighting would be appropriate in this play as the play shows a sense of realism and lighting would ruin that impression. The dining room is a good place for the setting as it was where the Birlings' were having their meal and there are seats for the characters to sit. Dramatic monologues should be used in the beginning and the end because that is where there is the most awareness from the audience since a dramatic beginning and end are expected. Although it was written in 1945, I believe that 'An Inspector Calls' is still a very relevant play for audiences because although unemployment is less than there used to be, there is still great unemployment. The government does help as there are still many jobless people. Nowadays many people are too consumed with themselves and would never go out of there way to help another person. I have read and heard of many stories of when someone has been attacked on the street and no drivers or passengers in the cars passing by have stopped to help the person. The world is becoming selfish like Mr and Mrs Birling. This play speaks out to everyone who watches or reads it as no person is perfect and these themes would apply to everyone. Even now the play is still relevant for modern audiences as it still could happen today. Someone could be driven to commit suicide because of alike events that caused Eva Smith's death. ?? ?? ?? ?? Saagar Kotecha 10SZ ...read more.

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