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In Act One of 'An Inspector Calls' how does J.B Priestley use dramatic devices to convey his concerns and idea to the members of the audience as well as interest and involve them in the play?

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Introduction

In Act One of 'An Inspector Calls' how does J.B Priestley use dramatic devices to convey his concerns and idea to the members of the audience as well as interest and involve them in the play? The play 'An Inspector calls' is a thriller based around a large wealthy family, set in 1912. The start of the play begins with a celebration where joy and intimacy are present through the speech of the family and the quoted 'soft lighting. However, as the inspector arrives things dramatically change and throughout the duration of the play the family realise they have all played a part in this murder, though some deny more than other. The main issues Priestley wanted to show and teach the Birlings were expressed through the eyes of the inspector, however they are well disguised through the murder the story was based around. Priestley's views, reflected through the presence of the inspector in the play through wise confidence and successful irony, were mainly in improving conditions of the country, particularly in WW2 and alerting attention to the class system that was strongly present in 1912. This takes us to the next point. Priestley chose to set the play in 1912, however it was written and performed in 1945. Priestley is likely to have set it so much earlier on because of the main issues involved just between 1912-1945. ...read more.

Middle

Conversely, when the inspector has finally entered, Birling uses his class and position to gain the Inspectors respect and put him below Birlings, so trying to patronize the inspector. This is shown when Birling quotes 'Perhaps I ought to explain first, this is Mr. Gerald Croft- the son of Sir George Croft- you know, Crofts limited'. Birling drops Gerald's name with unnecessary and irrelevant status, using his higher class knowledge as an authoritative and defence mechanism, showing the audience that Birling wants to show who the inspector is and how he should be treated. This class system is also show when Birlings brings up playing golf with the 'chief constable' (the inspectors boss type official). The inspector simply replies 'I don't play golf' and Birling says 'I didn't suppose you did'. This prove Birling is using class and names as a defence mechanism to warn off and threaten the inspector slightly, but in a non- pressurising manner (so Birling can get away with his intimidations), so as to put him in his place. This social device is a strong contribution to the main aim of the play as to what the inspector's intentions are. Another use of dramatic method is the way character exits are used to further the plot. The exit of Sheila, halfway through Act One, furthers the story quite dramatically. ...read more.

Conclusion

The play changes you opinion of the Birling's, during Act one, from one of an upper class family of celebratory moods to a family of snobbery and self centered attitudes. Priestley's uses dramatic irony as a method to involved the audience, to let them into something that the Birling's do not yet know about, so inviting the audience with interest and claiming responsibility that the audience take interest to, as they feel involved. This almost persuasive technique is used in Act one, in the speech in which Gerald confesses to Sheila about his affair with Daisy Renton. In my opinion, I think the playwright's message is trying to get across Priestley's views of social class and justice through the eyes of the inspector and his dealings with the Brilings social issues, all hidden through the story of a suicidal mystery. This political message is still relevant today, because although it is not as much an an issues, there is somewhat a class division that, personally, I think needs to be alerted to the publics attention because it is wrong to judge people on matter of wealth and power. Conversely Priestley's aims have been somewhat solved, because many people of lower class do have power and opinions on issues today that can be spoken out, which is what was needed then but can be done today to make up for the flawed past. ...read more.

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