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We went to see a modern production at Coventry's Belgrade Theatre. It is a morality play that focuses on how a person's actions over time affect others; I will be focusing on Sheila Birling and Inspector Goole.

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Introduction

With reference to the production you have seen analyse the character of Sheila Birling and Inspector Goole in what has been called a "well-made play". J.B Priestley wrote 'An Inspector Calls' in 1945. The play is set in 1912, in an Edwardian dining room, before the World Wars, when social class was more important in England. We went to see a modern production at Coventry's Belgrade Theatre. It is a morality play that focuses on how a person's actions over time affect others; I will be focusing on Sheila Birling and Inspector Goole. There are many other themes in the play including the role of conscience and the class divide and I agree that it is a well-made play. The version we saw at the Belgrade Theatre, although very different to the original stage directions, really made the whole play interesting. In the play text, the play is set in "the dining room of a fairly large suburban house" and remains there all the way through. The production we saw, though, was very different. On the stage was the front of a house, which swung out so the inside of the dining room could be seen. There were homeless children out on the streets with the Birlings' maid Edna. Most of the production was set outside of the house when each person was being interrogated by the Inspector, which gave the impression that they were on the same level as him and the homeless children. ...read more.

Middle

Inspector Goole rarely gives any clarified answers, which keep him in the clear from the other characters finding out anything about him, and maybe finding out he is a fake. No-one wonders why the inspector gives no certain answers because he moves on so quickly and they do not really have chance to think about it. Even so, it could make the audience and reader think that he may not know the answers as he only knows vague details. We know that he probably knows each person's story already as he tells Gerald "I'd prefer you to stay" when he tries to leave. He tells them that Eva Smith "had been pretty - very pretty" which makes Sheila and Mr Birling, who he had already interrogated, feel even worse. The Inspector makes the characters fall out and argue a lot from what he asks them and the way he links all their actions. This makes them not help each other and so the inspector has an advantage when he is interrogating them, as he knows he will get the truth. Each time he goes to change the character he is investigating he lets them know by either using one of the girl's names or showing them a picture. When he interrogates Birling, he is trying to tell him that he is discriminating against the lower class workers when he fires them for wanting a bit more money. ...read more.

Conclusion

Everyone apart from Sheila and Eric felt that they could now go on as normal without a care in the world about what they had done. Sheila and Eric, however, felt very guilty about what she had done and were angry that their mum and dad and Sheila's fianc�e were willing to ignore the inspector, fake or not. She had said to her father "The point is, you don't seem to have learnt anything." In the production, the curtain at the end falls behind Sheila and Eric but in front of Gerald and Mr and Mrs Birling. This was to show the division between the two groups of people. Behind the curtain were the family members who were prepared to forget about what had happened that night and in front were the people prepared to understand and take responsibility for what they had done. The Inspector had a huge impact on the younger family members. He had caused them to think twice about what they do from now on. Sheila is a different person by the end of the play. She has learnt from the inspector and continues his role after he leaves. She questions and judges her family, knowing more secrets about her family that ever before. We do not know what or who the inspector is, but to Sheila that doesn't matter. All that matters is that her family have all done awful things to a girl and they should take this point and discover new things about themselves by thinking more about what they have done. ?? ?? ?? ?? Emma Burke 10F ...read more.

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