• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

In 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?

Free essay example:

Manuella Haddad 10.7

An Inspector Calls

In ‘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’ was written in 1945 but was set in1912 by J.B Priestly. Priestley proposes equality. The Inspector speaks about them all being the same. ‘We are members of one body’. Priestley’s use of the word ‘body’ shows that we are all connected and linked. Everyone needs to work together.

The Inspector wants to teach the Birlings how to be more responsible and that money and class is not going to make you a better person and should change their attitudes towards the working class after he had spoken to them to change.

In 1945 he wanted people to be equal and not be separated by rigid class or gender and boundaries for people to earn a more valued place in society.

Priestley deliberately set his play in 1912 because the date represented an era when all was very different from the time he was writing. In 1912, rigid class and gender boundaries seemed to ensure that nothing would change. Yet by 1945, most of those class and gender divisions had been breached Priestley wanted to make the most of these changes. Through his play, he encourages people to seize the opportunity the end of the war had given them to build a better, more caring society where everyone felt responsible for each other.

‘An Inspector Calls’ is a morality play in which the playwright puts in his belief that people should treat one another equally and that there will be consequences to your actions. He also wants to teach the audience a lesson.  

Priestley uses dramatic devices throughout his play to convey his ideas to the audience. They have been used skilfully to teach the audience important messages and lessons.

Dramatic devices are elements of the play, which allow the writer to build tension or other intended effects. The dramatic devices used were: lighting, this was to set the atmosphere, the colours were used to make the audience feel relaxed with the warm colours that were used. Another device that was used were the props ( champagne, flutes and ring cases). Flutes tell the audience the Birlings should be celebrating, instead they can sense tension and some unease. The ring gets the audience excited about a possible proposal. Dialogue was another dramatic device used, Birling makes many ill - judged predictions about the future. The audience know that what he says does not happen. This will make the audience lose faith in his character. He will be seen as wrong and old fashioned. Costumes was also one of the devices throughout the play. Men are wearing tails and white ties. This tells the audience that the Birlings are wealthy. They’re celebrating. J.B. Priestley is lulling the audience into a false sense of security.  

The dramatic irony used very early on in the play is effective. Birling could make incorrect predictions about the titanic being ‘absolutely unsinkable’ and WW1 (which started two years later) .  Mr Birling is made to look very stupid by J.B. Priestley. He does this because Mr Birling is a capitalist which Priestley disliked.  

Priestley uses lighting in his play to the changes in the atmosphere as at the start of the play the lighting is calm and casual, however when the Inspector enters the room it all ‘brightens’ up as if an angel has come on  stage. The audience are forced to focus on this visitor and are curious to find out what he has ‘called’ for.

The effect of having introduced a new major character  has made all the other family members realise that they all know Eva Smith but just pretended they didn’t or even haven’t heard of her. It is very clever how Priestley has written it so that they are all ‘responsible’ and had a part to play.

 The characters exit furthers the plot more by the way they leave. This is when there is a main character in the play on stage, the audience are focused on them and when that character leaves the audience will instantly focus on the other characters on stage until the main character re-enters.  

 The end of act 1 had an effect on the audience. Tension is skilfully created here. The act ended on a cliff hanger so it makes them want to see the next act having been stimulated and challenged this far.

Inspector Ghoole himself is a dramatic device as his name ‘Ghoole’ meaning ghost. which really gets you thinking if he really is an Inspector especially when Mr Birling phones up and asks about the inspector and they find out that there isn’t anyone with that name.

In conclusion J.B. Priestley uses dramatic devices to transfer his concerns and ideas to the members of the audience as well as to get them interested in the play. During act 1, the playwright changed my opinion of the Birlings because they are wealthy people and they think having money and being in the upper class will make them a better person than the less fortunate ones.

The methods that Priestley uses to interest and involve the audience is by using various dramatic techniques such as dramatic irony, cliff hangers, lighting and setting.  He uses all his techniques to show his message and make sure the audience understand it. They also create tension.

The playwright’s message is very true and everyone should be treated equally and it is relevant today because everyone should be responsible for one another.  

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE J.B. Priestley section.

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Related GCSE English Skills and Knowledge Essays

See our best essays

Related GCSE J.B. Priestley essays

  1. J.B Priestley's use of language, character, and setting for dramatic effect in 'An Inspector ...

    Most of the humour used in 'An Inspector Calls' is conveyed through dramatic irony, and is generally quite stimulating. Yet again the audience are able to become involved in the play. Having said that, there are some occurrences when there are some humorous sentences, one of which is when the

  2. An Inspector Calls: In act one of An Inspector Calls how does J.B Priestley ...

    I should jolly well think not Gerald. I'd hate you to know all about port - like one of those purple faced old men". They all seem very comfortable in each others company and first impressions of the characters would be that the young couple are very happy together and

  1. Coursework How does J.B Priestley use dramatic devices in 'An Inspector Calls' to convey ...

    By Priestley setting the opening scene this way the audience have already become involved in the play. They are involved because they are curious, similar to how Sheila is curious about where Gerald was last summer. The audience are also inquisitive as to why Eric's character is nervous about something,

  2. How does J.B Priestley use dramatic devices to convey his concerns and ideas to ...

    The incidents are also used for dramatic irony. J.B Priestley uses foreshadowing and dramatic irony, very early on in the play. There are a few reasons for this. Arthur Birling is where all of the dramatic irony comes from. One example is the luxury liner Titanic, which sank two weeks after the play, is set.

  1. How does Priestley create tension in the play through characterisation, structure and atmosphere?

    It turns out that no girl like that has died in the infirmary tonight. Mr Birling celebrates with a drink with Gerald and that now everything can get back to how it was before and he tries to make a joke out of it, but Sheila does not seem to

  2. An Inspector Calls. How does J.B Priestley use the Inspector as a dramatic ...

    Goole repeats her responses, as if to confirm them, such as, 'MRS. BIRLING: He is entirely responsible', 'INSPECTOR: He's the chief culprit', 'MRS BIRLING: Certainly' He reinforces her statements and makes her aware, slowly but surely, that her son is the culprit, she has revealed all there is to say.

  1. In Act One of An Inspector Calls, how does Priestly use dramatic devices to ...

    When the inspector enters, Gerald automatically declares to Birling that the Inspectors cause of visit is for the reason that "Eric's been up to something" whilst 'nodding confidently'. Eric then experiences an 'uneasy' feeling about the situation suggesting that he has something to hide.

  2. In Act 1 of An Inspector Calls how does J.B. Priestley use dramatic devices ...

    Everybody was in high spirits and celebratory of the engagement, despite the fact that Birling saw it as his latest business venture instead of a romantic occasion. However, when the Inspector arrives, the lighting is much more bright and harsh.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work