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Inspector Calls: Dramatic Device

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In Act One of An Inspector Calls how does Priestley use dramatic devices to interest and involve the audience in the play, as well as to express his concerns and ideas? An Inspector Calls appears at first to be a regular detective story. However, as the play evolves it is clear that the story is a little more than that. It is also a mysterious, ghost story. There are two crucial dates in the play that the audience should be aware of. J.B.Priestley wrote the play in 1946, a year after the Second World War had ended. Priestley, however, set the play in 1912, two years prior to the beginning of the First World War. The play delivers many messages to the audience. By writing the play in 1946 and setting it 34 years before, Priestley has managed to cover a period of time which includes both World Wars. The play illustrates to the audience that generations have failed to learn from the mistakes of our recent past. This is reflected in the older characters of the play. Dramatic irony is used in Act One. The audience is aware that Mr Birling's talks of hopes for peace and wealth are not going to ensue. ...read more.


An extra dramatic device used by Priestley was the use of a doorbell. The audience are interested in what is happening, as no one knows who is at the door. The celebration has been interrupted for an uninvited guest. The suspense of the uninvited guest creates even more tension in the inquiry room. A further dramatic device used by Priestley is the way the Inspector enters for the first time. "An impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness". No one is aware why the Inspector is here. He makes the other characters feel inferior. The Inspector has a "Disconcerting habit of looking hard at the person he addresses before actually speaking". He makes the characters feel uncomfortable when he stares at them and the audience are extremely curious as to why he is there. Another technique cleverly used by Priestley is the way all the action takes place in "The dining room of a fairly large suburban house". By making everything happen in this one room, an illusion of claustrophobia is created. Everyone is trapped in this prison and they are unable to escape. They are shut off from the rest of the world. Everyone can see what the victim of the interrogation is going through at the time. ...read more.


People alive in 1914-18 and 1939-45 did not learn from their mistakes. Wars are still happening in the world today and world peace has not yet been accomplished. I feel Priestley was successful in delivering the moral message. Throughout the play, the Inspector acts as our conscience. It makes it clear that the people in power take advantage of the people weaker than themselves. Eva Smith was an ordinary, working class women. When she was needed to do a job, she was hired. Yet when she was no longer of any use, she was discarded and cast aside. J B Priestley wants us to learn from our mistakes, to prevent further injury. Between the time that the play was set, 1912, and actually written, 1946, we can see what happens in a heartless, uncaring civilization. People living between these times have had to deal with two World Wars, and other horrors such as the holocaust and depression. When the play was written, it was possible for the audience to look back and see that the bad events are going round in circles and have happened again. This emphasises the point of how important it is to look out for others, for people weaker than ourselves, instead of taking advantage of them. We should not forget that there are other people in this world. We need to stop being selfish and help those around us. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 Emily Peel ...read more.

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