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

What Dramatic Devices does J.B. Priestly
use in 'An Inspector Calls' to convey his 
attitude about society at that time?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

'An Inspector Calls' was written in 1945, although it was set in 1912. Priestley's view of society at that time was that there was a social injustice of the working class, and he used the play 'An Inspector Calls' to convey this. 'An Inspector Calls' is a play portraying progression from ignorance to knowledge, not only for the characters but also for the audience themselves. Using dramatic devices such as setting, lighting, props, dramatic irony, character action and dialogue, and indeed the main protagonist himself, J.B Priestly has put his views and opinions across to society in a way that enables effortless interpretation. Priestley did not like the capitalist society in which he lived, where the higher class of people had such a great influence over society that it was in their power to decide if someone could keep their job, or whether or not they deserved help from a charity. Exploring Priestley's intentions in getting society to change is the unexpected twist at the end of the play, surprising both characters and the audience alike. It is interesting to see how the younger generation learnt something from the experience, whilst the supposedly 'superior' generation did not. Enhancing Birling's ignorance and naivety is the dramatic irony used by Priestley. Priestley has used dramatic irony by setting the play earlier than when it was written, because the audience know that all of Birling's opinions will be contradicted in the future when he dismisses the talk of war and describes how the 'Titanic' is 'unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable'. This will make the audience realise how ignorant Birling is and therefore how ignorant the upper class are, as this is what Mr. ...read more.

Middle

The hard, bright light raises tension because it portrays how the Inspector enlightens the Birling family to their role in Eva Smith's death and how their secrets are about to be exposed. The Inspector is described as creating 'at once an impression of massiveness'. This suggests that in contrast with the Birlings he is very confident and does not need to put on any pretence. His attitude is intimidating because 'he speaks carefully, weightily, and has a disconcerting habit of looking hard at the person he addresses before actually speaking.' The entrance of the Inspector will raise tension because the questions asked by him will make the audience question themselves. When the Inspector arrives the celebratory mood is shattered. He turns the 'nice little family celebration' into a 'nasty mess' by making the Birlings admit their mistakes to each other and indeed themselves. The Inspector appears to be omniscient and is the catalyst in allowing each character to reveal their responsibility towards Eva Smith's death. The Inspector has a unique way in extracting information from each member of the family, which is a dramatic device itself. The characters react to his forceful questioning by admitting, albeit unwillingly, to everything they have done to contribute to Eva Smith's death. Sheila's comment to Gerald saying that the Inspector 'somehow makes you' admit your crimes insinuates that the Inspector is an almost ghostly character, and has the power to make people admit things that they do not want to. Reinforcing the idea that the Inspector is a ghostly character is the fact that the Birlings 'hardly ever told him anything he didn't know'. ...read more.

Conclusion

J.B Priestley throws in two twists at the end of the play. Firstly, two interpretations of who the Inspector really was are given. The initial interpretation is that he is a trickster determined to make fools of the Birling family, and the second is that he is some sort of avenging spirit, come to make them see the evil of their ways. It is interesting to see how the older members of the family take the first, whilst their children take the latter. Priestley does this to illustrate how the younger generation are the key to the future, if any changes are to be made. The second twist is the time-release mechanism when the telephone call interrupts and takes them back to relive events. Here Priestley has used Ouspensky's theory of the fifth dimension, which is the fourth dimension, time, in infinite repetition. Priestley has used this cyclical structure to show that if they fail to learn from their experiences the Inspector will keep returning until they do, and his threat of 'fire and blood and anguish' will become their reality. J.B Priestley's techniques were successful in conveying his attitude to society at that time, because every single member of the audience will learn something from the play. This means that Priestley's purpose for 'An Inspector Calls' was achieved, because he wanted to educate society of the unfair social standings and how something must be done to alter them. Cleverly entwining various dramatic devices with character dialogue, J.B Priestley has ensured that 'An Inspector Calls' is a play that can be used to change society. abby brakewell 10B ...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. How does Priestley use time as a dramatic device in 'An Inspector Calls'? How ...

    This dramatic device gives the audience an opportunity to reflect on the previous events and appreciate Priestley's ingenious devices applied. The Inspector is a contrast to the Birlings as he seems to favour community responsibilities rather than individual ones. The Birlings represent the richer people in society that do not

  2. Discussthe role of the Inspector in the play 'An Inspector Calls'

    You should refer closely to the text in your answer "Why shouldn't they try for higher wages? We try for the highest possible prices. And I don't see why she should have been sacked". Eric to Mr Birling says this.

  1. How does J.B Priestly explore the issues of social responsibility on 'An Inspector Calls'?

    The reason for the use of this character is so that members of the audience can see that although at the beginning of such a relationship you feel that it won't go very far, in the end it could develop into more and therefore the person who is given false intentions, in this case Eva will end up getting hurt.

  2. How does the character of Sheila Change during the course of J.B. Preistely's "Inspector ...

    get Eva sacked then she wouldn't have gone to the haunt and Gerald wouldn't have met her. We realise that Sheila accepts that Gerald was initially honourable when he first met Eva because he was only trying to help Eva out of pity.

  1. An Inspector CallsHow does Priestley use the character of the Inspector to convey his ...

    To him they are nameless and have no individuality. Priestley has done this to make audience members realize that even if a person has a very minor job, or is poorer than most, they still deserve to be treated with respect.

  2. Do you agree that Eva Smith is presented as a victimin the play 'An ...

    Sheila soon returns and speaks with the inspector. She obviously feels guilty as she asks him miserably "So I'm entirely responsible?" The Inspector says no but tells her that she is "Partly to blame." Although it was here bad temper and jealously that caused Eva Smith to lose her job at Milwards, Sheila seems genuinely sorry for her actions.

  1. How J.B. Priestley Creates Sympathy for Eva Smith in "An Inspector Calls"

    He seems to think that he is above the law, telling the Inspector that he "doesn't like" his "tone". He also repeatedly tells the Inspector that he doesn't think these events are "any concern" of his. Mr. Birling tries to intimidate the Inspector by telling him about the "close" friendship

  2. How does J B Priestley use the Inspector as a voice for social change?

    The audience would view their relationship as very strained. When the audience find out about Mrs Birling?s involvement with Eva and the death of her grandchild they feel as though justice is being done as her reluctance to accept any responsibility as been taken away and she now has to face up to what she has done.

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