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How does Act 1 of "An Inspector Calls" reveal so much?

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How does Priestly reveal so much before the inspector comes? By Arjun N The opening scene is set one evening in the spring of 1912 in the dining room of the Birlings? house in Brumley; an industrial city in the North Midlands of England. Priestley specifies that the room has ?good solid furniture? and is ?heavily comfortable, but not cozy and homelike.? As the curtain rises, the four Birlings; Arthur, Sybil, Sheila and Eric, are seated at the table alongside Gerald Croft. This being the first tableau showcases the type of comfort the family is used to, and with Edna clearing away their dinner plates, this reinforces the power that the Birling family has, quickly shows the standards in which the family is used to with this being the emblem of this rich family?s life. This act plays a key part in showing the family?s mentality foreshadows what is to come during the play with sequences of mistrust and lack of respect for each other, setting further indicators of what is to come. Shiela?s bitter remark about Geralds? absence during the last summer illustrates flaws in their relationship, which ate present in the very beginning. ...read more.


This dramatic irony would have been more distressing for Priestley?s intended audience because many of them may have known people who died in the disaster. This is the same for his care free attitude directed at the belief of not having a World war, which, as Priestley had intended would be poignant, and very distressing for the audience due to the significant amount of loss, and damage caused by the ignorance of men resembling Mr. Birling. We are also quickly shown that there is quite a lot of tension between Eric and his father Mr. Birling, and this is from the start. We have been shown clearly how Mr Birling and Eric have little respect for each other as justified by Mr Birling cutting off Eric, and his negligence to what he has to say; ?Just let me finish Eric?, this clearly supports the idea of the two having friction. J B Priestley reveals a lot about the family?s behavior and their thoughts and their ignorance, which is justifiable through Mr. Birlings? speech about the titanic. Birlings? political beliefs consists of self-reliance and personal responsibilities, which are capitalist and could also be seen as right winged. ...read more.


as shown by their absence (they had recently declined the invitation to the dinner, which reinforces the idea of their disapproval of the engagement). The initial lack of interest of the Birlings and people like them towards the fate of Eva Smith, in turn, is part of the overall class structure in England at this time, and Priestley, even this early in the play, draws our attention to the way that Lady Croft looks down on Birling just as he looks down on Eva. J B Priestley has cleverly revealed so much in such a small amount of words, with a cleverly planned structure, alongside his subtle hints foreshadowing what is to come in the scenes to come. At the end of act one, we are at a point of tension where we can feel there are major disagreements and friction between the family members. The warm atmosphere that had been created in the beginning has been destroyed, and replaced by a layer of anxiety. J B Priestley has successfully exploited their hidden mistrust for each other, and he makes them use this upon each other. ...read more.

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