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How does Priestley use exits and entrances to heighten the drama of the play: "An Inspector Calls"?

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How does Priestley use exits and entrances to heighten the drama of the play: "An Inspector Calls"? In 1944-1945, Priestley believed strongly in socialism, as the Inspector says: 'we are members of one body'. This was after seeing the destruction and devastation to much of Europe, due to World War II. He supported Labour party in that he saw a decent civilisation as the key to socialism. Priestley saw this to be a good time to write a two genre, 'whodunit' and 'morality' play, 'An Inspector Calls'. Although 'An Inspector Calls' was written in the 1940's, it was set in 1912, before the sinking of the Titanic and World War II. Priestley wrote it at this time purposely to show the audience how arrogant and ignorant Mr. Birling is. This is the easiest way for us, the audience, to immediately dislike Mr. Birling. As it is a morality play, Priestley has made some aspects of the play unrealistic. This is because he is only trying to convey a moral throughout the play, and so it does not necessarily have to be pragmatic. He has portrayed Inspector Goole as more than a straightforward detective, and leads the audience to think if he may have been "a hoaxer, or in his omniscience, something more", as said in the introduction. We have first indications that he is of the supernatural when we hear his name, Inspector 'Goole', which is in relation to ghosts. ...read more.


This is an important exit as Sheila can now interrogate Gerald on how he knew Eva Smith. An indication to us that shows that Sheila has changed is when he leaves; he simply looks from Sheila to Gerald, knowing that he can trust Sheila to question him. He does not need to ask. This also shows his vast knowledge in everything and hints at his supernatural ability to know things. After Sheila has had time to interrogate Gerald, the inspector enters. This creates dramatic tension as he has entered at a crucial moment, knowing that Gerald has something to confess. The Inspector walks in and asks a question; 'well?' he knows that he has triumphed over Gerald and because Sheila is now on his side, he need not ask her anything that Gerald said, he is all-knowing in that Gerald will tell him himself. This also develops the image of him being very different. The beginning of Act 2 also enhances the Inspectors all-knowing ability. As Mrs. Birling enters, she makes herself look inane, 'I'm Mrs. Birling', as the inspector already knows who she is, and so this illustrates her arrogance. Mrs. Birling also creates dramatic irony as she informs the inspector, 'I don't think we can help you much', whereas in fact, they can and do help him with his inquiries about the death of Eva Smith. The next exit is when Gerald leaves the dining room. ...read more.


These important words have an effect on The Birlings, all except Arthur Birling, who is quick to blame all on his son in that there will be 'a public scandal'. This enhances his arrogance. The Inspector tries to warn the family to treat people equally, just like their maid Edna, who symbolically resembles Eva Smith. The Inspector exits, increasing the dramatic tension and leaving the Birlings to give thought to what he said. The final entrance is at the end of Act 3, which is made by Gerald. His entrance builds astonishment throughout the audience as he informs the Birlings that Inspector Goole was 'a fake', maximising the drama of the play. However, before the curtain falls, there is the denouement in which the audience find out that another Inspector is coming round to investigate the Birlings, leaving much imagination to the audience. This is also well-structured stagecraft as it adds to the dramatisation of the play. When the phone rings, the Birlings believe it to be Gerald but find out that it was an inspector who rung, confirming that there was no suicide therefore there was no Eva Smith. Sheila and Eric have changed whereas Mr and Mrs Birling haven't. To enhance a dramatic ending, the phone rings and the Birlings are told that an inspector is coming round. This shows that it is a morality play, as it seems to the audience that the Inspector is going to keep returning to investigate the Birlings about Eva smith until they have changed into better people. ...read more.

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