• 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 Priestley convey the social message of the play effectively while providing the audience with an enjoyable theatrical experience?

Extracts from this document...


In An Inspector Calls, how does Priestley convey the social message of the play effectively while providing the audience with an enjoyable theatrical experience? John Boyton Priestley was born in Bradford, Yorkshire on 13th September 1894. "An Inspector calls" was heavily influenced by J.B. Priestleys own opinions and experiences. J.B. Priestley had experienced active front line service and had also narrowly escaped being killed on more than one occasion. The play opens, the Birlings, the focus and core of the whole play are situated in a fairly large suburban house, this already suggests to us that they are a comfortable prosperous family. The Birlings are celebrating the engagement of Sheila Birling and Gerald. Mr. Birlings character is the first to convey, he comes across as a man eager to please, he buys the same port as Gerald's father does, keen to impress him. Also we notice Mr. Birling praises the cooks meal, this is unheard of in an upper class household. "Arthur, you're not supposed to say such things". This shows Mrs. Birling has more awareness of status especially her own. The soon to be wed couple, Sheila and Gerald engage in teasing light banter, however the audience sense tension, Gerald was apart from Sheila for a large part of last summer. "And I've told you, - I was awfully busy at the works all the time". This makes the audience think, was Gerald really at the works? ...read more.


However the inspector is not impressed by the list of names, he is quick to give a blunt and frank description of Eva Smith's situation. The inspector only shows the picture of Eva to Mr Birling, the others are annoyed however the inspector is not concerned or intimidated he is not there to make friends he is there to get his job done. The inspector hints that Gerald may also be involved, this creates suspense. The inspector questions Mr Birling about why he sacked Eva, Mr Birling still thinks he is not responsible for Eva's death. The audience will instantly think of him in a bad way, because he is not ashamed of his actions and their consequences. The Inspector interrogates the whole family together but one by one to create tension, the audience see their different reactions and instantly warm to some of the characters, at this point Eric and Gerald are showing sympathy towards Eva Smith. Mr Birling is still trying to intimidate the inspector, however he comes off more intimidated. As Sheila enters she is instantly sympathetic towards Eva, however she does not know many of the events that have occurred. Mr Birling's attitude is quick to alter when he believes that he is no longer to blame for Eva's death, this totally contradicts what he was saying ealier about looking after you own family, he proves to be very hypocritical. ...read more.


"I accept no blame for it at all" a very similar reaction to the one of Mr Birling, Sheila is the only one who has learnt from her mistakes and is willing to accept responsibility. As we enter the last act, the inspector appears to be rushing, doesn't have the time "when I've gone". Eric's part in the death of Eva/Daisy comes out, the inspector is not surprised, he appears to have already known. The Inspector is Priestleys voice and the Birlings conscience. The speech is all about community, and also memories of war. J.B Priestley is trying to get across a message, that we should learn from the past, change our ways if they are wrong. However once The Inspector has left we see that the only ones that have learnt are Sheila and Eric, Mr and Mrs Birling find out that no girl has died in the infirmary, which they think means they are in the clear, no public scandal will arise. Sheila and Eric admit they were wrong. J.B. Priestley uses a detective story to keep the audience gripped and entertained, however there is also a strong undercurrent seen through out it. The play is supposed to teach people a lesson, a moral lesson. To show that a community should stick together, no matter what their class or status. The message is one from Priestleys own experiences, which makes it even more prominent throughout the play. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

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

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

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

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE J.B. Priestley essays

  1. How does J.B Priestley use the character of Sheila Birling to convey his message ...

    When she does realise this, Sheila becomes upset as she thinks about her family and how much damage this could cause for them. As her new-found intelligence and confidence grows, Sheila voices her concerns about the lies that have been told within the family and whether they are "nice people".

  2. An Inspector Calls is a play with strong morals. How does Priestley use Inspector ...

    Then he'd be entirely responsible-because the girl wouldn't have come to us, and have been refused assistance, if it hadn't been for him- (Inspector) So he's the chief culprit anyhow. (Mrs.Birling) Certainly. And he ought to be dealt with very severely.

  1. What message do you think that Priestley is trying to give in 'An Inspector ...

    The message behind this is that the upper-class must be unmasked as selfish, to help the audience help themselves to be better people. The Inspector is the catalyst for the events of the play: without him, none of the characters' secrets would ever have come into the open, for a variety of reasons.

  2. The message of an inspector calls

    You said yourself she was a good worker. I'd have let her stay.' This speech Eric says shows he is comparing himself and his father to their workers showing that he already has the concept of the message of the Inspector. Even before Eric knows the reason for the Inspector showing up Eric knows about all the things

  1. "An inspector calls" has been described as "a play with a message." What is ...

    Birling is saying that it is important to think of yourself and this way you will stay safe. At this point birling gives the audience the impression that he is very selfish and self-centred. "But take my word for it, you youngsters - and I've learnt in the good hard

  2. 'An Inspector Calls' - How does Priestley's presentation of the Inspector create dramatic tension ...

    It is as if the Inspector is a guiding light for the family to the truth. Light has connotations with purity and goodness; this is seen as what the Inspector is bringing. Also by the light being increased the faces of the characters are more clearly visible emphasising their facial expressions.

  1. An Inspector Calls J.B. Priestley - In 'An Inspector Calls' J.B. Priestley has a ...

    This is the first time in the play were class is an issue, later on in the play Eva smith is portrayed as lower class that deserves no respect, this is an additional messages from Priestley in that he believes that peoples shouldn't be segregate, but instead have the same opportunities and chances.

  2. How does Priestley create drama and convey his concerns in 'An Inspector Calls'?

    You want to know why there is this tension between some of the characters and in the play. There is evidence of cracks and tension beneath the surface. There are cracks in Sheila and Gerald's relationship, after the meal Sheila says to Gerald "Yes - except for all last summer,

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