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In Act I of "An Inspector Calls" how does Priestley use dramatic devices to convey his message to the audience and involve them in the play?

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Introduction

In Act I of "An Inspector Calls" how does Priestley use dramatic devices to convey his message to the audience and involve them in the play? "An Inspector Calls" is a play written in 1945 and set in 1912. The plot is based on a high-class family and each of their contributions to the suicide of a young working-class girl. The play begins with a family dinner party held by Arthur Birling, to celebrate the engagement of his daughter. There is a ring of the doorbell, and the pleasant scene changes to an uncomfortable interrogation as Inspector Goole enters. As the play unfolds, the audience find out how each member of the family is connected with the development of Eva Smith's suicide. Although J.B Priestley wrote "An Inspector Calls" in 1945, he deliberately set it in 1912 to influence people's ideas about society. He was worried about the living conditions of the working classes, portrayed by Eva, and the way the higher classes behaved, portrayed by Gerald and the Birlings. The dramatic devices in the play include the "sharp" ring of the doorbell, interrupting Mr. Birling's speech of his capitalist ideals, when he says "A man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own" The introduction of the Inspector after this had been said is very significant to show Priestley's socialist views contrasting Birling's capitalist views. ...read more.

Middle

This creates suspense in the audience, and makes them wonder: 'what will happen next?' This question always leads to the audience wanting to keep watching. Priestley's language contains biblical references, which might suggest how sacred and important socialist views are, compared to capitalist views. Christianity is much more like socialism because it is about 'loving thy neighbor as thyself'. He uses the reference; "we are members of one body," which is part of a catholic communion prayer. This means that we are all alike in the view of God, and that diversity does not exist in God's eyes. The church is often referred to as 'a body' with each member playing an important part. Another biblical reference he uses is "fire and blood and anguish," which is a reference to hell and links to World War 1. He also unites the Inspector and the audience by using the personal plural pronoun "we", which highlights his activist, socialist views on the idea of community. The Inspector is not classed as a character as he is more of a vehicle for conveying Priestley's socialist message. He seems to want the family to profess their moral wrongdoings more than a crime they have committed. His name is "Inspector Goole", which may be a homophone for "In-Specter Ghoul". ...read more.

Conclusion

Eva was exploited selfishly, as every member of the family (including Gerald) exploited her by ignorance, hatred, and especially greed. Status and wealth were more important and more valued than people when it came to this family. Mr. and Mrs. Birling did not feel any sympathy for Eva even after they found she had committed suicide. This is shown by their snobby attitude to the Inspector, and how they are not sorry for their snobby attitude towards Eva. "You're quite wrong to suppose I shall regret what I did" Overall, I think the play was very effective in the way Priestley conveyed his message, which made me think about how our community today acts towards each other. Something that kept me involved in the play was the wonder of what was going to happen to the Birlings. Whilst going through the play, I thought about how the story would finish, and did not expect the ending to be such a big twist! After the final curtain fall, I imagined what would happen to the characters once the second Inspector had come, and thought about the same questions being asked again, but I suppose not in quite such a curt way, and their fears of "public scandal" would come to life. I think the play was thought provoking and excellently written. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sonya Woods 10S English GCSE coursework Page 1 ...read more.

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