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How has seeing a performance of 'An Inspector Calls' enhanced your understanding of the play and how close do you think it comes to J.B. Priestley's intentions?

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Introduction

How has seeing a performance of 'An Inspector Calls' enhanced your understanding of the play and how close do you think it comes to J.B. Priestley's intentions? After watching Desmond Davis' production of the play 'An Inspector Calls', my understanding of the script and the under-lying meanings of the play have been considerably enhanced. 'An Inspector Calls' is a play about a girl named Eva Smith. At the very beginning of the story we learn that Eva Smith committed suicide by swallowing a large quantity of washing up detergent, which leads us to the question, Why? An inspector that was investigating the circumstances, in which Eva Smith died, went to the house of a very wealthy upper class family called the 'Birlings'. Who when the inspector came are in the middle of a celebration. The inspector begins to rigorously interrogate the other characters and involvement by each individual is slowly revealed. The inspector then leaves, as abruptly as he came and they discover that he was an impostor, then several characters begin to disregard their involvement in the suicide. 'An Inspector Calls' ends with a phone call that Arthur Birling answers and manages to stammer 'A girl has just died - on her way to the infirmary - after swallowing some disinfectant. And a police inspector is on his way here - to ask some - questions'. We assume that this time the inspector will be legitimate. There were quite a few differences between the screenplay Guy Hamilton directed and the play that Priestley wrote. ...read more.

Middle

The way the characters are dressed is very typical for the social class and period they are in. It is as if they are trying to show off to each other even within their own family by expressing wealth in their clothes. There costumes also enhance our view of the time period the play is set in as they are very different to the attire we are accustomed to today. Edna the maid has a different style of costume to everyone else, she has an apron and old clothes on, and this shows the clear gap in the classes between the Birlings (and Gerald) and Edna. This enhanced my own view of the class gap between the Birlings and the working class. The class difference is also shown because she serves for them not the other way round and she has a regional dialect that is different to the 'Queen's English' the Birlings and Gerald use. (Except Mr Birling, who shows a slight regional accent at times thus indicating that he is a social climber.) The film enhances our views of the inspector by the way he looks. He is paler than the rest and his dark clothes make his face stand out more and makes him a more prominent figure than the rest of the cast. This enhanced his character immensely in my perspective as he was always the boldest and the brightest, during the discussions and as this was represented in his physical appearance too it helped me to grasp his involvement a lot more. ...read more.

Conclusion

I don't think he approved of the class system and the way people of lower class were treated. Which also leads me to believe that one of the reasons he wrote the play was to get his own back on upper class people. Getting across his beliefs that people who are in the upper class aren't necessarily all good and law abiding. I think he believes that just because someone was of a different class it didn't mean they would live up to there stereotypical labels branded on them by narrow-minded people. As well as enlightening me about Priestley's personal opinions on things the film has created clearer images of the people more to blame for Eva/Daisy's suicide. It has made characters like Sheila and Eric easier to empathise with and has made other characters like the two parents Mr. and Mrs. Birling easier to dislike and feel disdain towards there lack of feeling and thoughts for the girl The film stayed true to the play pretty much, except for the inclusion of Eva Smith/Daisy Renton in the flashbacks and also a few other minor details like the way Sheila reacts to the ring that's bought by Gerald for her engagement. In the film she says 'It's the one I wanted' and in the book she says that it's the one 'you wanted me to have'. There are a few other subtle details like that didn't alter the story much at all. The production cleared up details the book left me puzzled with due to the fact I could see what was happening and could relate to it better. Ashley Shelton English PT6 - 1 - ...read more.

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