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Twentieth Century Drama "An inspector Calls" J.B Priestly Read the passage at the end of act 2 pages 42-49 and analyse its effectiveness as a piece of theatre?

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Danielle Trubridge An Inspector calls / Coursework. Twentieth Century Drama "An inspector Calls" J.B Priestly Read the passage at the end of act 2 pages 42-49 and analyse its effectiveness as a piece of theatre? As part of my English coursework I have been asked to read the passage at the end of Act 2 and analyse its effectiveness as a piece of theatre. In order to do this I must give a brief explanation as to how this scene fits into the rest of the play. First of all the play starts when the Birling's are celebrating their daughter's (Sheila) engagement to Gerald Croft. The engagement party is interrupted by an "Inspector" who is investigating a young woman's suicide. At the end of act 1 we find out that Mr Birling had known the girl Eva Smith, at some point. Her involvement with Mr Birling was very vague, she had worked for Mr Birling until the workers at his company decided to go on strike, in order to receive higher wages. As Eva was one of the head protesters she was sacked and was out of a job. Shortly afterwards she was employed at a company named Milward's, a very respectable shop, and both Mrs Birling and Sheila were valued customers there. Sheila's involvement with Eva Smith was not quite as tenuous as Mr Birling's had been, but again it had cost Eva her job. ...read more.


The curtain then falls thus creating tension within the audience. I expected the play to finish with all of the characters learning from their mistakes and being changed people, but as I read through the play I realised that not many of the characters were capable of change. This scene shows how the characters develop; for example, Sheila becomes very mature throughout the play. Sheila realises that she did wrong by getting Eva sacked and she regrets what she had done, unlike Mr Birling who hadn't given her a second thought since he sacked her. You can see this when the inspector shows him a picture of Eva Smith in scene 1 and it takes him a while to remember whom it was. This attitude does not change in scene 2 either. Mrs Birling is the same; she is not ashamed to admit that she turned away a pregnant woman with no money, no home and no friends when in need. This speaks volumes about her character. The fact that she wouldn't help a girl who was of a lower class to her shows how shallow Mrs Birling really is. The inspector gains more confidence and stands up for his rights in this scene. He handled the whole situation with the father of Eva's unborn baby, which he knew was Eric. ...read more.


It is obvious that Mrs Birling is not ashamed of what she has done, but the inspector is trying to make her aware of this. I also believe that J.B Priestley uses the inspector as a mouthpiece, the inspector is trying to communicate the same message as J.B Priestley is to the audience. I think that at that at the end of Act 2 when the curtain falls the audience would feel anxious about what is going to happen next. Priestley must be successful if the audience experiences this tension. This scene is a crucial part of the play because before now we didn't know that Eric was the father of Eva's unborn baby and that Mrs Birling knew Eva Smith, but near the end this is all revealed. At the end of the play the inspector makes a speech that finally changed Eric and Sheila, it altered their perspective in ways such as, to treat people with respect and treat them fairly. This could be reflected in the audience, as the Birling family were of a high class and the majority of the play who came to see this play was also of the same standard so they could relate to the plays events. The audience may think that they have done something terrible in the past like the Birling's had done and might think more carefully next time. I think that J.B Priestley has been completely successful with this play as a piece of theatre because of the above reasons. ...read more.

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