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In Act One of An Inspector Calls(TM) how does J.B. 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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In Act One of 'An Inspector Calls' how does J.B. 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' by J.B Priestley is a well-made, morality, whodunit detective play. Priestley displays a theme of morality in his play to show his views through his main characters. The play was written in 1944/1945 (and also performed on stage for the first time in 1945), this was a time when Britain was coming out of the austerity of the Second World War, a great time of social change for all classes. 'An Inspector Calls' however, was set in 1912 - before even the First World War (1914-1918) had even broken out in Europe. J.B. Priestley had very strong political opinions and used his plays to put them across, plays with a hard-hitting social message. In 'An Inspector Calls', this message was about how people should be thinking and living, he wanted his audience and readers to come around to his way of thinking, focussing on the point that everyone needs to look out for everyone else because it is the right and proper thing to do so. Priestley uses the character of the Inspector in this play to represent the alternative view to Mr Birling. ...read more.


The Inspector has; "An impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness. He is a man in his fifties, dressed in a plain darkish suit. He speaks carefully, weightily, and has a disconcerting habit of looking hard at the person he addresses before actually speaking." He uses his character to create the impact on the family that he is to be taken seriously and they are not in for such a comfortable evening as usual. When beginning his investigations he displays his habit of looking closely at each of the main characters before questioning them. He works systematically 'one person and one line of enquiry at a time' he confronts them all and is harsh, giving them a piece of information and then letting them talk. Mrs Birling who is not so accommodating uses the phrase of: "Giving us a rope - so we'll all hang ourselves When his suspects exit the room after they have been interrogated, the Inspector uses this as his excuse to move onto the next. For example, in the exit of Sheila Birling, she leaves the room in tears as Inspector Goole has made her feel that she is personally responsible for the death of Eva Smith after she has recognised her in a photograph. What the family and Sheila do not realise is that there is much more to the girls death than just Sheila's actions. ...read more.


The new light of this seeming pleasant and respectable family at the beginning of the Act is not so kind upon them and the audience see the Birling's to be selfish in their actions to only look out for themselves. The power of the Birling family appears to lie in other people's perception of them, their status within the community. However, Mr Birling does see himself as a very influential and powerful person, and displays this arrogance to the Inspector when he first arrives. "I was an alderman for years - and Lord Mayor two years ago - and I'm still on the Bench - so I know the Brumley police officers pretty well" Here, Birling's arrogance is turned into embarrassment as he fails to impress the Inspector, but he still thinks highly of his own achievements. Priestley involves his audience by making them ask questions about the Birling's and allowing them to come to their own decisions as to which Birling is most at fault for Eva Smith's death and also whether or not the Inspector is conveying the truth to them. I think J.B Priestley's message within the play is that Birling is wrong in his views, it is everyone's responsibility as a community to take care of each other, regardless of how close you are to them. This, I think is a message which is still relevant today as many people are unwilling to help and support those in need. ...read more.

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