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What does J.B. Priestley's use of stagecraft contribute to the Overall dramatic effect of 'Inspector Calls'

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What does J.B. Priestley's use of stagecraft contribute to the Overall dramatic effect of 'Inspector Calls' John Boynton Priestley was born in Yorkshire in 1894. He knew from a very early age that he wanted to become a writer, but decided that he would not go to university as he thought he would get a better feel for the world around him away from academic education. Instead, he became a junior clerk with a local wool firm at the age of 16. When the First World War started, Priestley joined the infantry and escaped death on several occasions. After the war was over he went on to study and gain a degree at Cambridge University. Soon after he moved to London and became a freelance writer. He wrote many successful articles and essays and published the first of many novels, The Good Companions in 1929. He completed his first play in 1932 and went on to write fifty more. Much of his writing was groundbreaking and controversial. He included new ideas about possible parallel universes and strong political messages. 'An Inspector Calls' was written in 1945 but like another of his plays was set in 1912. The play was first performed in two theatres in Moscow in 1945. However the following year it came to the stage in London. ...read more.


The house on stage is opened just like a dolls house, as the front is on hinges. This gives the impression that the Birling Family and Gerald are merely dolls, and the Inspector is here to 'play' with them. The Inspector speaks carefully and weightily and always looks directly at the person he is going to speak to before he actually addresses them. If he is interrupted he is not pleased and if faced with something he does not want to answer he will simply ignore it. The Inspector seems to know everything the Birlings are going to confess and is there just to make them say. The Inspector gives the family the news of Eva Smith's death. The first person the inspector gets a confession from is Mr Birling. The inspector shows Mr Birling a photo of the deceased, which jogs his memory. The Inspector only reveals the photo to one character at one time and this adds drama, as we never see what Eva Smith looks like even though the whole play is based around her death. This keeps the audience gripped. One after the other, it is revealed that every character in someway had a connection to Eva Smith. The way this is revealed is chronological. For instance, we learn that Gerald was involved with Eva Smith or her former name, Daisy Renton in a sexual way. ...read more.


A girl has just died- on her way to the Infirmary- after swallowing some disinfectant. And a police Inspector is on his way here - to ask some - questions'. From finding out another Inspector is on his way we are all left questioning how the characters will act to an Inspector the second time around. This leaves everyone wondering and very confused. Was the Inspector real? Was he an actual Inspector? Was he a conscience? Was he a forewarning? Was he a ghost? Was he God? This all add drama to the play because there are many unanswered questions that the audience have to try and work out for themselves. I think Priestly did this on purpose so that the audience leave pondering the ending of the play. The ending to this play leaves us questioning our morals. Priestley wants to give the impression that the Inspector could call for us at any time. Inspector Goole was a device used to make us examine our own conscience and the way we view other people. In conclusion I think that the way Priestly wrote the play and the way it is performed on stage makes it very dramatic and very effective. Throughout the play the audience are always paying attention due to the high and low points of tension and drama. The lighting, sounds and costume all contribute to the effectiveness of this play. The Inspectors final speech leaves us questioning ourselves, and the cliffhanger ending leaves the audience thinking about it for days. Jade Lee ...read more.

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