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Scrutinising the theatrical effects used by J.B Priestly in his classic tale of "An Inspector Calls".

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Introduction

GCSE English Coursework: "An Inspector Calls" Christopher McIntosh For the duration of this assignment, I shall be scrutinising the theatrical effects used by J.B Priestly in his classic tale of "An Inspector Calls". By combining quotations and examples from the manuscript itself, the topic of whether these methods of drama work will be questioned. I myself will be concentrating largely on the final pages of Act One of the play. With this I will create a thorough analysis of some of techniques featured here. To conclude the assignment, I shall be taking into account the question of whether the techniques employed by Priestly would have an effect on a 21st Century Audience of today. J.B Priestly sets the play in the fictional city of Brumley in the year of 1912. Brumley is situated in the North Midlands, which at the time was considered a vast industrial area. In this city of factory owners and corrupt politicians, social standings were far more important than they were today. Many men who had invested in such industries as coal and iron had made considerable fortunes. Men such as Arthur Birling may have come from humble origins but their wealth allowed them to climb up the social ladder. But many employers did not take the rights of workers too seriously. ...read more.

Middle

It takes place when the end of an act finishes on a tense and highly dramatic moment. An excellent sample of this takes place on pages 25 and 26. Revealing that Gerald has had some sort of sexual liaison with the so-called "Daisy Renton"; the Inspector departs the room with Eric to allow Gerald and Sheila to converse the matter further. Sheila instantly challenges Gerald. She realises that Gerald's lack of attention to her the previous summer was due to his affair with Daisy Renton. Even though Gerald attempted to cover the truth: "(trying to smile) "Well what, Sheila?" he said adamantly "I didn't" have an affair with Daisy Renton. He gradually admits to having an affair, but "hadn't set eyes on another girl for at least six months". No later than sooner of clarifying the existence of the affair, Gerald denies his role in the death of Eva Smith by commenting that "I don't come into this suicide business". Again there is an essence of responsibility surrounding the family. It is almost as if they do not want to be involved in lower class affairs. This puts forward the idea that social standings were an important aspect in the year the play was set. ...read more.

Conclusion

When the Inspector first arrives with the news of Eva Smith's suicide, it is realised that he is there to find the murderer. Even though there was no single killer, the combination of the Birling family and Gerald Croft drove a young girl to causing her own demise. It is clear that the "Detective Novel Format" has a huge effect on the denouement of a well-made play. In conclusion to this assignment, I do believe that the theatrical effects implied by J.B Priestly in "An Inspector Calls" do function with the audience of today. It is clear to see that each feature used some how relates to a 21st Century Audience. The "Obligatory Scene" is used frequently in modern day soaps, such as Eastenders. When a secret is revealed though, the technique of the "Climatic Curtain" is accustomed to ending the programme on a tense moment. This leaves the viewers in an oar of wonder of what is to happen next. However, the "Detective Novel Format" has been used be writers such as Agatha Christie and Dashiel Hammet to really add depth to the structure of the play. "An Inspector Calls" is a tale of social standings, financial differences, cruelty and injustice. There can be no doubt that the modes of Thespian Art employed by J.B Priestly have maintained the interests of audiences in 1946, as they still do for us today in the 21st Century. ...read more.

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