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Inspector calls essay

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How does JB Priestly use dramatic devices to convey his concerns and ideas to the audience, as well as interest and involve them in his play? The play written by JB Priestly comes under several genres mystery, murder, detective, psychological thriller and whodunit. An Inspector Calls is also a morality play as it does teach the audience a lesson and has a meaning behind it. The play comes under a whodunit genre as we don't know what made Eva Smith commit suicide, which makes the audience try and work who is to blame. The play was made a whodunit genre to make the audience want to know how each member is responsible. This search for the suspect keeps the audience interested and guessing how each member is involved. The murder genre categorises An Inspector Calls as someone has died but on the other hand it isn't of that genre as it was suicide. The play had characters being questioned by a person thought to be a police inspector which gives the play a detective perspective making the audience wonder how the inspector will outwit the family. The play consists of 3 acts each ending on a cliffhanger such as the ending of Act 1 when Gerald admits cheating on Sheila and they without the presence of the inspector decide to keep it a secret from him and then the inspector walks in and says, "well?" ...read more.


The Inspector questions them and makes them confess in a way a normal inspector wouldn't. The Inspector isn't polite and fairly to the point. He is very omniscient unlike a normal inspector who asks what happened. The use of his omniscience makes the family confess. An example of this is when the Inspector asks Mr Birling whether he knew Eva Smith and Mr Birling replies with "No" but then the Inspector uses his omniscience and replies, "she was employed in your works," This makes the audience think the inspector is extraordinary but ingenious in the way he deals with family because of this the audience feel the Inspector is a great and right person making the audience look up to the Inspector. With the family having recognised his omniscience they feel they should confess as they think he knows it already. He also makes the characters confess by using didactic lines. When Gerald and Sheila discussed Gerald's involvement with Eva Smith without the presence of the Inspector they plan to keep it a secret but then the Inspector comes in starting the conversation with "well?" as if he knows what has been said and making the pair tell the truth about it. The inspector also shows a photograph at certain characters one at a time, this makes the characters and audience intrigued with this photograph. What also makes the characters and audience want to know what the photograph is is that it brings such an effect on the character that had seen it making the audience and characters wonder why it's achieving this effect on the character. ...read more.


The play abides by the three unities which then is destroyed near the end of the play and then diverts to JB Priestley's time interests. JB Priestley was very much influenced by Herbert George Wells who was also a writer of his time and his works were political and didactic. Wells' works also included theories of time and Priestley picked up on this. Priestley understood J. W. Dunne's theory of time which was that all time past, present, and future are happening together in some way also meaning that they are in some sequence, and that events will be repeated. In An Inspector Calls Priestley puts his ideas of time across. He does this by having the Inspector turning up to teach them a lesson (to be responsible for each other) but when the Inspector goes the Birling family still quarrel and shift the blame on one and another. Then a phone call interrupts their accusations, which says that a girl has died near the infirmary by consuming disinfectant and an Inspector will be round soon. This means that if the Birlings and Gerald don't learn a lesson that time will repeat until they learn that they are responsible for each other. With this happening in the play the audience would learn that if you don't learn a lesson time will just repeat itself till you learn your lesson making them learn a lesson. Also it suggests that if you don't learn a lesson you cant move on as time will repeat itself. ...read more.

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