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How Does J.B Priestley Use Dramatic Devices to Convey His Concerns and Ideas to the Audience as Well as Interest and Involve Them in His Play?

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Laurence Andrews 1112 Words How Does J.B Priestley Use Dramatic Devices to Convey His Concerns and Ideas to the Audience as Well as Interest and Involve Them in His Play? - Essay J.B Priestley was born in Yorkshire, 1894. He was very concerned with the effect of an individual's morals, actions over time, and their responsibility to others, possibly due to his time spent witnessing suffering during his time in the army, after leaving home at 16. Priestley uses the context of the build up to World War One, where lack of community and middle class responsibility in the face of strikes and food shortages led to political unrest as a contrast to the present. This essay looks at dramatic devices used to convey this theme while involving the audience in his play. Priestley wrote the play in post-war 1945, where similar problems were emerging to those experienced in Edwardian England. He uses the earlier setting where social problems failed to be addressed, to warn people that if further political unrest was to be avoided a different approach i.e. ...read more.


The emphasis on the word, "chance," shows his pompous attitude with strong beliefs, which the audience know are not to be trusted as both statements have been proved wrong by 1945 when the play was released. As he is a stereotypical representative of capitalism, the audience are encouraged to reflect on the certainties on which capitalism is based. Priestley has ensured that the audience will no longer be taken in by the character's boastful tone and by encouraging them to listen critically he is also engaging them in the dialogue more actively. In making the stereotypical capitalist look like a fool, Priestley makes it much easier to teach the audience what he wants. Birling says, "The way some of these cranks talk and write now you'd think everyone has to look after everybody else." With the audience now wondering if everything he says is foolish, they may be more likely to believe that socialism (or at least "everybody looking after each other") is a good idea. This dramatic device used by Priestley works on two levels, as a character we see his flaws and the audience is engaged by actively questioning his words. ...read more.


"Well?" As Gerald's part in the story is about to be told, the play is cut off and the audience go on wanting more. Priestley leaves the audience to this rhetorical question because it forces them to try to answer it and therefore think about the problems arising in his plot and politically. At the end of the play we are left wanting to find out if the inspector is real as much as the characters in the play. The audience is then engaged in the play by waiting for the resolution of this cliffhanger. This essay shows that J. B. Priestley uses 4 main dramatic devices: stereotyping, effective lighting/props, dramatic irony, and dramatic tension. These are used both to convey his message to the audience in a sympathetic light, for example that a purely capitalist approach to life is morally questionable, and to involve them in the plot, for example, encouraging critical examination of characters' views. This essay shows that J. B. Priestley knows the importance of engaging the audience if his message is to be understood and has ensured that this occurs through the use of dramatic devices. ...read more.

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