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How effectively does Stevenson use the conventions of a Victorian Mystery story in Jekyll and Hyde?

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How was the role of the Inspector used as a dramatic device in the play of "Inspector Calls"? The play of "Inspector Calls was written by J. B Priestley in post 1914. He was born in 1894- a pivotal time in England. Priestley was well educated and went to Cambridge University. Priestley was a socialist and fully supported free education, a good life and for wealth to be shared. He supported the idea of all people being one community and stood for parliamentary candidate in 1945 even though he opposed the government. "Inspector calls" takes place in 1912 although was acted out after end of WWII. Priestley's theory of everyone being responsible for each other in some way is clearly shown in the play, with it being the main moral message. The background of England at that time is used in the play also to elevate realism and connection to the "real world". 1911-1912 were years full of "industrial unrest" With hard conditions and the possibility of war, civil unrest was present. Worker strikes became common and work life conditions were worsening. An example of this is shown in "Inspector Calls" with the case of Eva Smith. Priestley has created a crucial character in the plot of "Inspector Calls" The use of the Inspector as a dramatic device is very crucial in the play. As the main character, the audience must feel a strong presence from him and he must be able to dominate the stage without blocking other characters out at the same time. ...read more.


All work and no play is clearly what he is about. But it also shows he is quite humorous, and makes fun of the Eric, by being sarcastic. The Inspector also gives across the atmosphere of "organisation". He likes to go "one person and one line of inquiry at a time" to prevent a "muddle" (P.11). Pre-planning of every case seems to be a possibility and the short snappy sentences frequently used makes his language straightforward; it saves the audience the job of trying to interpret what the Inspector is trying to say. I think Priestley has purposefully done this so that there will be minimum attention taken away from the play. In the play of "Inspector calls", there are specific key themes that the Inspector represents. Firstly, social class is definitely represented by him in many occasions. The Birlings are a typical upper class family who are stuck in their own little world. They think of nobody but themselves, damn anyone below their status and think they are better than everyone. The Inspector knocks this wall down by showing them that they are linked to everybody and they are and will be held responsible for their actions. The constant upbringing of social class is undermined by the Inspector and reveals new truths. This links to the themes of guilt and responsibility, which are paired with each other in the play. These united furthermore break down walls with the Inspector strongly representing guilt. His interrogation brings about considerable guilt and acceptance of responsibility to some of the characters: in two cases the guilt is so intense, it changes the character's beliefs causing them to have a strong desire to change who they are. ...read more.


The precise short speech allows the play not to be prolonged and tedious. The shock information and firm interrogation is the work of a genius, competent inspector that adds to the depth of the story. On the whole, these Inspector's genius techniques allows him to personally control the tension in the play, rising and lowering it on his command. Although this is a pivotal theme of the play, the Inspector's effect on the audience is a very important dramatic device in the play. The effect is crucial as the audience needs to not just see into the Inspector's character further but also the tension shared and experienced in the play needs to be understood by the audience as well. I think this has proved effective as I personally felt the strong presence of the Inspector, even when he was not talking! The key themes in the play cleverly combined together made the Inspector a strong dramatic device but alone they also worked their own purpose to fulfil maximum effectiveness. This was very effective but I think the most effective technique was the actual identity of the Inspector. The curiosity lingered from his arrival and it still lingers on years after his departure. The immense curiosity has lead to many theories being made in the play and also outside the play. The constant issue of who he actually was took a strong hold of the characters after his departure, and his true identity still remains a dark mystery today. Whatever the answer, the Inspector was very effective in his role and mission, leaving a dramatic permanent mark on the Birling family and the audience of "Inspector Calls" for even more years to come. ...read more.

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