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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?

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By Kerrie Coyle, 11a An Inspector Calls - Essay Question 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? J.B Priestley uses a lot of dramatic devices to convey his concerns and ideas to the members of the audience, as well as interest and involve them in the play. Although written just after the Second World War, this play is set in 1912, where class is considered to be very important. If you were unemployed and had no family or friends to support you, in the case of Eva Smith, you often found yourself living on the streets. Of course, in those days, life was very harsh and there was no such thing as benefits or a welfare state, to help those in need. The Birling family need not worry about this, as they are very high up in society and lead very comfortable lives. After all, Arthur Birling is the owner of a large manufacturing factory. When the inspector comes to visit the Birlings, during the engagement party of Sheila Birling to Gerald Croft, he intends to teach them a lesson. He wants to show them their selfish and arrogant ways. Mr Birling believes that every man should be for himself. In reference to the play, he says on page 9, '...a man has to make his own way - has to look after himself - and his family too, of course.....' ...read more.


It allows each character to explain fully their connections with Eva Smith and lets us know in depth what really happened. Priestley is precise in specifying that until the Inspector's arrival; the lighting in the room is 'pink and intimate'. This helps to reinforce the initial friendly, congenial mood of the party, in a comfortable setting. After the inspector arrives, however, the lighting becomes 'brighter and harder', as the events of the play take their dramatic course and the mood progressively changes. The lighting involved in this play, is used as a symbolic image, as the play is all about highlighting secrets that each character has. Throughout the whole play, the setting is constant throughout. We stay situated in the dining room of Mr Birling's large suburban house. Priestly uses this device, so that we can fully concentrate on what is happening in the storyline. We are also then transported back to the time of the event, when each character is telling their version of the story. This happens, so that we are aware of what it was like and able to understand fully the situation they were in. Another dramatic device that Priestly uses greatly in the play is the use of the photograph. The inspector used it as an instrument to unlock what each character knew about Eva Smith. As they each see the photograph, recognition of her is shown through their facial expressions and body language. ...read more.


At the beginning, she is just as self-centred as her father, but after she learns from the inspector that a young girl killed herself, she is genuinely shocked. When she learns, that she is partly to blame for her death, she is 'agitated' and 'guilty'. She learns through the course of the play that we indeed are all responsible for each other. Priestley tries to interest and involve the readers as much as possible in the play. He keeps the interest flowing, through the book, as one character's secret is revealed one at a time. We are pushed to read on, as we know each person has something on their conscience, which they haven't yet told to the readers and there is an interest to find out who was responsible for driving this Eva Smith to suicide. The use of climaxes, adds to this suspense and the readers are left wondering to the conclusion of each act. The moral of the story, that the author, J.B. Priestly is trying to send us, is that we should all care for one another. Even though, it was a story of just one girl, there are many Eva Smiths and John Smiths in our world today. Their lives are intertwined with our own, and they are affected by what we say and do. He is trying to teach us that we don't just live alone; we are members of one body and are all responsible for each other. He also tells us that the time will come, if we do not learn this, we will be taught a much harder lesson. ...read more.

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