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Show how Priestley uses the Inspector as a dramatic device.

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Introduction

An Inspector Calls Show how Priestley uses the Inspector as a dramatic device. At the start of the play, we see a well-to-do family at dinner. The mood is quite relaxed, as they are chatting politely, yet informally. They are drinking alcohol liberally. They are wearing fashions of the period, and the men are wearing tails and white ties, not dinner jackets. The family are content, maybe as they have nothing to be anxious about and everything is going fine in their lives. They have no real worries. Business is doing well for Arthur Birling, and he is in line for a possible Knight-hood. Sheila has just got herself engaged to pleasant, affluent Gerald Croft, whose father is a 'friendly rival' in business with Arthur Birling. The family seem unified. Nobody is expecting a visit from an Inspector. Neither is anybody aware that each of them, in turn, has had connections with Eva Smith. ...read more.

Middle

He moves the story along, and gets the audience to focus. He is sort of like an 'explorer', as he gets the characters searching and interrogating themselves and each other. When it's Sheila's turn for 'questioning', and the Inspector shows her the photo of Eva, it causes her to scream and run out. Firstly, Sheila is truly shocked to hear that the girl has died, and secondly, the audience wants to see what has caused her to behave in such a way. The Inspector also shows Gerald a photograph. By showing each one a photo, he spotlights each one's importance. He also creates an air of mystery, because none of the characters are sure, that they all see the same photograph. When it's Mrs Birling's turn for the investigation, she does her best to be stubborn, and tries to be 'clever', by being dismissive and arguing her opinions strongly. The Inspector traps her into talking about how she dismissed Eva Smith, in her time of need. ...read more.

Conclusion

When you have time to reflect on the story afterwards, you start to wonder if Priestley was using the Inspector as a mouthpiece, as a way of voicing and expressing his opinions and views. Priestley believed that co-operation in society is necessary for things to advance. This is everything Arthur Birling disagrees with. He thinks that everyman is for himself. I think the Inspector was part of the mystery. When it's relieved that he isn't a real Inspector, we start to question the play. We look to find answers. Was he a ghost? A murderer? Eva Smith's brother? But then we find out that a suicide did take place, and there will be questioning, the drama continues... The message of the play is, that we all have to help each other and look out for each other. The actions that we portray in society, if handled badly may end in disaster. "We are members of one body and we are responsible for each other". Natalie Clowes, 10M An Inspector Calls. November 2002. ...read more.

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