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How is the audience of this play made aware of the powershifting from Birling to the Inspector?

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Amy Stephens 10E How is the audience of this play made aware of the power shifting from Birling to the Inspector? Introduction In this essay, I am going to write about how the audience of this play is made aware of the power shifting from Mr Birling to the Inspector. This play is set in 1912, but it was written in 1945, after the Titanic had sunk, and the Depression and both World Wars had happened. In 1912, people were quite pleased with themselves. A lot of them had made a lot of money through industry and they thought that everything would turn out all right. The Birlings are such a family. However, there were many poor people and some people, such as the Inspector, took the opposite extreme view. Dramatic Devices At the beginning of this play, Mr Birling has the power. You can see this before he even talks as he is heavy and important looking and has "solid and suburban" furniture, which shows he is successful. When he does talk, he is the first person to speak. It is also obvious from the way he dominates the conversation, and does not allow anyone to interrupt him. He gives instructions, has very strong views, and obviously has the respect of his family and Gerald. However, he has an accent, which shows that he has not always been this rich, and makes him seem slightly less powerful. ...read more.


- and -" At this point he is interrupted by doorbell - Inspector's arrival The next main speech is said by the Inspector just before he leaves. It is the opposite of Birling's - for a start it is much shorter and more to the point, whereas Birling's waffles on for four pages, making him seem pompous. In the speech, he says that "there are millions...of Eva Smiths and John Smiths...all with their lives, their hopes and fears, their suffering and chance of happiness, all intertwined with our lives and what we think and say and do. This is the exact opposite of what Birling was saying to Eric and Gerald before the Inspector came. J.B. Priestly uses several speech-making techniques to make the Inspector seem more powerful. The Inspector says, "you can't do her any harm. And you can't do her any good now." This uses antithesis - a pair of opposites used to make a point. He also uses repetition, for example when he says "millions and millions and millions". Another famous technique he uses is making 3 points leading to a summing up sentence, to make them stand out. Examples of this are: "their lives (1) their hopes and fears (2) their suffering and chance of happiness (3) all intertwined with our lives and what we think (1) and say (2) and do (3) (summing up)" "We don't live alone. ...read more.


In the beginning, Birling has the power because of the way he has brought his children up - spoilt and not realising the consequences of their actions. They have been told to look after themselves and not bother about anyone else. He is especially protective of Sheila "I don't see any reason why my daughter, a young unmarried woman, should be dragged into this" and doesn't see how ironic this view is when compared to how he feels about Eva Smith - that she is just cheap labour, and a trouble maker for wanting a higher wage. Both children have a very superficial view of the world. The inspector breaks down this view and brings reality into their lives by showing them the consequences of their selfish actions. After the Inspector leaves, and they find out that he was not a real policeman at all, Birling is ready to forget about everything and go back to how he was before, but Sheila and Eric do not want to go back. They have taken notice of what the Inspector says and respect him more than Birling. You can tell that they have lost their respect for their father when Eric says, "I'm ashamed of you" and when Sheila says "if you want to know, its you two who are being childish". Although this play is a bit dated, I enjoyed it because I thought that it was exciting and I agree with its message that everyone should care about everyone else. ...read more.

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