• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What Do You Consider to Be the Function of “An Inspector Calls”?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What Do You Consider to Be the Function of "An Inspector Calls"? (J.B. Priestley) This play has many functions. One is simply to entertain or amuse. The story line is an interesting one which keeps the audience absorbed into the play. However behind this simple front, there are devices and techniques Priestley has used to try and manipulate the audience into his way of thinking. Similarly we are introduced to an apparently respectable, middle-class family; but we are shown through the inspector the ugly, and possibly more truthful side of them. The function of this play works on two levels, to entertain and to educate (or even warn). It combines theatrical excitement with social criticism, it prompts the audience to look at themselves or at least their society from a safe, untainted perspective. Instead of actually being in a dinner party and putting on these false pretences themselves, they can watch another family do it and draw their own conclusions. It is this new way of looking at things, which raises questions within the audience, but leaves them to answer them. I think the fact there is an older woman, and younger woman. Plus an older man, and a younger man shows that Priestley is aware that similar aged audience members can relate much more effectively to the characters. So younger and older aged characters of both sexes must be included in the cast. ...read more.

Middle

It's fair to say that Priestly really has exaggerated the pomposity or Mr. Birling to ensure that he is hated by the audience. The original time this play was shown was the 50's for the war was still fresh in people's minds. The bitter irony of Birlings's stupidity serves only to generate more hatred toward Mr Birling's arrogance. It's this blind arrogance that Priestley wants to be apparent to the audience, so that they themselves can question if they are too showing signs of Birling's "hard-headed" arrogance. With all these factors taken into account I would want a rather large, pompous looking and slightly dim man to play Mr Birling. Someone with a hearty, rude bellowing laugh and a complete lack of respect for anyone he considers to be lower class. Mrs Birling is emotionally devoid. She represents the true middle class. In society she would be well respected for her work with the charity organisation but we see later on in the book she turns away a pregnant women in disgust for using the Birling name. "She seemed to me to be not a good case - so I used my influence to have it refused." Mrs Birling's function is, like Mr Birling's to shock the audience. The women of the audience will see Mrs Birling and start to question whether they are putting on an emotionless mask just to fit into the stereotypical box of what a "respectable women of the time" should be like. ...read more.

Conclusion

The audience is let in on a love affair, which they themselves are guilty for ruining. Gerald's story asks the whole audience why it isn't right that two human beings can love each other just because they are separated by snobbish divides. However, if Gerald were true to his love and care for Daisy he would've stayed with her. He clearly values his own reputation more than Daisy. Gerald must be portrayed as an intelligent honest man. He should be quick-witted but also sensitively played. I have gone through the function of each character, thus giving the function of the play. Overall, the play acts as a warning to people. It uses the shock of Eva Smith's death presented by the inspector, "She'd been taken there this afternoon because she swallowed a lot of strong disinfectant. Burnt her inside out, of course." Combined with irony from both the adult Birling's. Mrs. Birling condemns the man behind Eva Smith's child, only to find it's her own son. "He ought to be dealt with very severely" Mr Birling also spouts more of his categorically wrong predictions to an audience who has just been through a horrendous world war, "They'll be peace and prosperity and rapid progress everywhere". Priestley uses the shock, irony and entertainment of the general plot, to keep the audience interested while conveying a strong message. I think J.B Priestley teaches the world a lesson, which is still very relevant today. [Barney Harris] ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE J.B. Priestley section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE J.B. Priestley essays

  1. Review of the Royal National Theatre Production of “an Inspector Calls”

    When the doorbell rings, the house opens up and the audience can see a quaint dining room with posh decoration. The Inspector never enters the house, but one by one he entices the Birlings and Gerald down. The first character to come down is Mr Birling.

  2. Examine How Priestley Uses a Variety of Dramatic Devices To Highlight the Theme of ...

    "(slowly) No - I seem to remember hearing that name - Eva Smith - somewhere. But it doesn't convey anything to me. I don't see where I come into this. Arthur Birling seems to the remember the girl but after the inspector shows a photo of her to Mr.

  1. How does the film enhance the original Script of “An Inspector Calls”?

    is nothing as she is unaware of Eric being an alcoholic or she does not want to be aware. The film's props and sounds rapidly speed up the long-winded process of explaining the situation in text. The film makes good use of the available equipment and in general it's 'Mise en sc�ne' is brilliant.

  2. Explore how Priestley prepares the audience for the play as a whole in Act ...

    show how wrong he can be, although to be fair his view was that of most people in 1912 and so he is stereotypical of society then. Mr. Birling's attitude is shown in his words, "...A man has to make his own way has to look after himself" and, referring

  1. How does J B Priestley deliver his moral message in “An Inspector Calls”?

    - Page 1 The use of servants or maids instantly gives the impression of wealth, but perhaps also indicates the spoiling of the children or maybe using their wealth to show off their "status". In Birling's speech to Eric and Gerald on pages six and seven, Birling is shown to

  2. Why is the play “An Inspector Calls” still a popular play today?

    in the Infirmary" As soon as the inspector states this intensely dramatic line - made more dramatic by the position of the commas that add pauses, resulting in emphasis - the whole mood changes from the happy, family party atmosphere to a curiously uncomfortable and somewhat concerning mood.

  1. How far do you consider the inspector successful in interrogating the Birling Family? To ...

    Gerald becomes uncomfortable and Birling tries to make himself seem equal to Gerald, he states "But I wanted to say this is - there's a fair chance that I might find my way into the next Honours List. Just a knighthood, of course.

  2. Explain how J B Priestley builds up dramatic tension in “An Inspector Calls”.

    The Inspector then starts to ask the intense questions, where he tells the story of a young lady named Eva Smith. He then carries on to say that she had died in an Infirmary after taking a dose of disinfectant.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work