• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Priestley use the inspector as a dramatic device to highlight the social issues in the play at the time it was set?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How does Priestley use the inspector as a dramatic device to highlight the social issues in the play at the time it was set? 'An Inspector Calls' is a play written by J.B.Priestley. It is set in 1912 but written in 1945. The play is written in the style or genre of a detective mystery play. It starts with a death that they believe to be a suicide, and the plot of the play is used to investigate the death of Eva Smith. As the involvement of each of the members of the family is progressively established, the structure of the play becomes a typical trait of detective mystery as a 'whodunit' with the Inspector slowly unravelling the life of Eva Smith using each of the family members. Each member of the Birling family has had some connection and involvement with Eva Smith and has unknowingly, until their stories end and a new one starts, contributed to her eventual death. The audience is kept in suspense about who drove Eva Smith to her death as all the characters have had some association with her. Priestley uses climax at the end of each act to hold the audience in suspense but to also hold the audiences interest by the progressive revelations by their desire to find out who was ultimately responsible for driving Eva to commit suicide. With the carefully controlled plot he ensures the audience is left on tenterhooks throughout the play. ...read more.

Middle

He also lets them work out the answers themselves 'mother don't you see, but surely... I mean... its ridiculous.' which results in more family breakouts especially when they don't want to tell the inspector anything that might incriminate themselves 'well, we don't need to tell the inspector all about that, do we?' The inspector knows more about the Birlings family secrets than they do themselves and the great details he knows of Eva Smith heightens the great mystery that surrounds him. He knows of how her name changed, 'she used more than one name'. He also knows that she worked for the Birlings and the reasons when and why Mr. Birling sacked her, 'wanted the rates raised'. He also knows of Gerald's affair, Sheila's the cause of having Eva sacked, Eric getting her pregnant and Mrs. Birlings harshness when Eva came to her for help. He knows that everyone in that room had something to do with Eva Smith. How he knows it, we as the audience and the family themselves assume because he is an inspector and that he researches his cases, but that is then cast aside and questioned when we find out he's not a real inspector. He does not actually need to question them very thoroughly as they reveal their involvement with Eva Smith quite readily. They don't actually tell him anything he doesn't already know but he still prompts them to answer his questions, (Mr. ...read more.

Conclusion

They feel different to everyone else and that it doesn't make a difference if the man was an inspector or not. It revealed something about each and every one of them, it exposed their guilty secrets they had been hiding and striped away their show of fa�ade of respectability and showed they are corrupt inside. It creates a lasting impression on Eric and Sheila that distinguishes them from the other three. They realise that you should take responsibility and comprehend the effects on other people. The inspector is used as a dramatic device to expose the Birlings social irresponsibility and ignorance and make them see that their actions have consequences and not to abuse their powers. J.B.Preistley showed the discrimination between social classes and males and females. He tried to convey his ideas using the inspector to make people think and that the issues raised like; marriage between social classes was a taboo, like in the issue with Eric and Eva, and that people from upper class society shouldn't downgrade themselves by going to the places that Eric went to; these were thought of as the 'norm' in those times and to inform people of the time he wrote the play, 1945, more familiar with the times and effects that they caused on other people whatever class. It is Priestleys final sentence of the speech, 'fire and blood and anguish' that he finally makes everyone aware of the inspectors almost supernatural quality. Who or what the 'inspector' was is left deliberately unsolved by Priestley, almost as if to heighten the supernatural nature of the inspector. Siobhan Maine An Inspector Calls Essay ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE J.B. Priestley section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE J.B. Priestley essays

  1. J.B Priestley's use of language, character, and setting for dramatic effect in 'An Inspector ...

    I feel that he is anxious for the wrong moral reasons, as he only seems to care about his knighthood and not the fact that a girl has died because of his family. I therefore feel that Mr. Birling's speeches depend on how much he's in control of a situation and how happy he is.

  2. How does Priestley use time as a dramatic device in 'An Inspector Calls'? How ...

    One way in which Priestley uses time as a dramatic device is by setting the play in 1912, long before either of the world wars, but performing it in 1947. This device leaves the audience with the advantage of looking back.

  1. In Act One of "An Inspector Calls", how does J.B. Priestley use dramatic devices ...

    Yet it later evolves into one of the worst, a night that could damage his reputation, and diminish his chances of receiving a knighthood. Another example, near the beginning of Act One, whilst the family are enjoying the party,

  2. An Inspector Calls: In act one of An Inspector Calls how does J.B Priestley ...

    and Gerald in the room, they begin to talk about business and Birling seems to be bragging, he talks about his knighthood, they talk about "manly" things and don't really seem to talk about anything very important and conveys to the audience that maybe they don't really feel at ease with each other or trust each other that much.

  1. Show how in "An Inspector Calls" Priestley creates dramatic tension through focus on characters, ...

    During his questioning by the Inspector, the audience learns of Gerald's involvement with Eva Smith, Gerald however knows Eva as Daisy Renton. The audience learns of Gerald's affair with Daisy and his treatment of her when he tired of her.

  2. How does Priestley use the Inspector as a dramatic device in "An Inspector Calls", ...

    The lighting is pink and intimate before the Inspector arrives. It become brighter and harder when the Inspector enters. At the beginning of Act 1 the Birlings are enjoying a meal. The dialogue reveals that the family does not care about anyone but themselves.

  1. How does the play highlight the contrasts between the different philosophies of Arthur Birling ...

    Mr Birling had just finished his speech about "a man has to make his own way..." The inspector's visit proves that wrong, because Eva's story questions this idea that looking after only yourself leads to a good society. It is important that he enters at this point because it hints that the inspector may be a Conscience.

  2. Examine How Priestley Uses a Variety of Dramatic Devices To Highlight the Theme of ...

    However, unlike Birling she feels very upset about her conduct, shown by her running out of the room sobbing when first shown the photograph of Eva Smith. She also swears that she will "never, never do it again to anybody".

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work