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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Essay length: 1339 words

The play 'An Inspector Calls' by JB Priestly is a dramatic thriller. It was written in 1945 and set just before the first World War, so the audience could relate to the setting and perhaps remember their past attitude towards community.

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

AN INSPECTOR CALLS The play 'An Inspector Calls' by JB Priestly is a dramatic thriller. It was written in 1945 and set just before the first World War, so the audience could relate to the setting and perhaps remember their past attitude towards community. Priestly was a pacifist, someone who was against wars, and he had experienced two; so the play has a message conveying social harmony. JB Priestly may have wanted some of the audience who are richer than others, to appreciate them for who they are. He uses the Birlings and Eva Smith to promote that concept. The Birling family are the main characters in the play. They are a rich family, sitting in the dining room. The family are a very arrogant family who think they are above many others; they are lead by Mr. Birling. Birling is an owner of a factory, called 'Birling and Company'. Mrs Birling doesn't seem condescending at first, like her children Eric and Sheila. Gerald Croft - who is engaged to Sheila, which is what everyone there is celebrating, joins the family. Birling considers himself the alpha-male of the family and a "hard-headed business man," and seems like a man who would put business before family - this can be identified in my view quite easily.

Middle

He is also kinder to Sheila than he is to Birling. With this method Sheila is always breaks down and as a result the Inspector gets the information he requires. The Inspector does this with all the characters, and gets the evidence. By doing this he also reinforces the fact that he is in control, by getting answers, when he asks the question. Despite all the questions, the Inspector seems to know the answers to the puzzle, with extra information gained. This is clear when Mrs. Birling says she doesn't know who Eva Smith is, the Inspector reminds her that she " ...spoke to and saw her only two weeks ago." This would make him seem like he knows everything about the Birlings and Eva. It's as if he is a ghost who knows the movements of them all. As well as creating anxiety, tension and questions during the scenes, he creates a dramatic climax at the end of each act - even when he has left. At the end of the first act, he creates a climax by asking Gerald how he knew Eva - remember Gerald is Sheila's fiancé and the answer to this question may jeopardise their relationship.

Conclusion

He is referring to the wars that happened before this play was written. The rich and poor fought together, as one body. The audience could instantaneously relate to this, and it may make them consider their views. As at that time it wasn't guaranteed there wasn't going to be a third war shortly. As soon as the Inspector leaves, Birling is back to being the dominant figure, and the family begin covering their tracks. Everyone except Eric and Sheila begin to make excuses of why they did what they did. They continue to do this until it becomes clear that there was no real Inspector, they make some inquiries and realise there is no Inspector Goole. So they feel a weight has been lifted as their social reputation wont be dented, but then they receive a phone call. They are told a woman has died in the same circumstances as Eva - and an Inspector is on his way to "Inspect" them. The Inspector, from when he arrives to his departure is in control. He interrogates, questions and makes everyone confess to his or her crimes against others. He creates dramatic climax and he seems to be the voice of the audience, by asking the questions they want to know the answers to. In my view he is the voice of Priestly, conveying his message of community, social harmony and trying to end inequalities.

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