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In act one of “An Inspector Calls” how does Priestley use dramatic devices to convey his concerns and ideas to the members of the audience, as well as interest and involve them in his play?

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Introduction

In act one of "An Inspector Calls" how does Priestley use dramatic devices to convey his concerns and ideas to the members of the audience, as well as interest and involve them in his play? "An Inspector Calls", written in 1945 and set in 1912, is the story of one night in the Birling's family life when an Inspector calls. The Inspector brings the news of the death of a young girl and, over time, shows how each member of the family is partly responsible for the girls death. The date of setting compared to the date of writing is vitally important because in 1912 there was a substantial gap between the upper classes and the poor which is reflected in the fact that the Birlings do not care for those "below" them. Priestley was a socialist and uses the Inspector to voice his own opinions about how each and every person has a responsibility towards others in society. ...read more.

Middle

Just before the Inspector enters the room, he rings the doorbell with a "sharp ring" and this is the point where the pleasant, happy atmosphere is changed as the audience and character can sense that it is a turning point in the play. This links to the telephone used at the end of the play with a sharp ring that marks a sharp turning point again from a relieved and pleased atmosphere to one of worry and self-doubt. Both times this device is used it also shocks and surprises the audience who are not expecting the sudden change. The Inspector arrives immediately after Mr. Birling tells Gerald and Eric that "a man has to look after himself and his own". This timing suggests that the Inspector is going to challenge this view and it is how he will do it that interests the audience. The Inspector creates an impression of massiveness, solidarity and purposefulness which makes the audience believe that he is always correct and you couldn't argue with him. ...read more.

Conclusion

Gerald's reaction leaves the act on a cliffhanger and the audience is left wondering how he has known the girl, thus keeping them interested in the plot of the play. In conclusion, Priestley conveys the messages of social responsibility and morality very well to the audience of the time as they would be able to relate to the Birlings and how they might have felt. The dramatic techniques are vital to the play in conveying the messages to the audience, especially the fact that the audience knows about both World War 1 & 2 whereas Mr Birling feels they were not going to happen. I feel that the messages of the play are still relevant now and do take a place in modern society where the rich and poor tend never to get involved with each other. The audience leave wondering about their own responsibility in society and how their actions affect other people much like the Birlings' actions affected Daisy Renton. By David Bruce ...read more.

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