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What dramatic features does J.B Priestley rely on in his play 'An Inspector Calls' and how far would these features appeal to the audience?

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Introduction

What dramatic features does J.B Priestley rely on in his play 'An Inspector Calls' and how far would these features appeal to the audience? J.B Priestley was born on the 13th September 1894, in Bradford, Yorkshire. At the age of 16, J.B Priestley decided to leave school, and as it states in his autobiography 'Margin Released', he wanted to write rather than work towards a university scholarship. In 1910, J.B Priestley became a 'very junior clerk', working with the local wool firm of Helm and Company. Between the years, 1911-1914, he gained much of his experience for writing, by being surrounded by people who read a great deal, and becoming involved with his fathers circle of socialist friends and joining them in their political arguments. In 1914 J.B Priestley joined world war one, at the age of 20. In 1919 he left the army and took a place at Cambridge University, reading modern history and political science. After Priestley got his degree, he decided that academic life did not sure him. In 1921, therefore he left for London, with newly wed wife, where he became a freelance writer. J.B Priestley managed to write consistently, following the death of his first wife from cancer, and his remarriage. Priestley's great achievement and his consistency to write allowed him to burrow his roots as a writer, as he wrote the following books: 'The Good Companions' and the 'Angel Pavement'. ...read more.

Middle

J.B Priestley thought it was wrong for society to treat people like Eva Smith like that. Would the same thing happen to her if she lived in 1946 is the question being asked to the audience. When J.B Priestley wrote his plays, he used a number of dramatic devices and wrote so it followed a classical structure. The classical structure he followed was similar to Greek drama. Greek drama had a simple pattern of three unities, which were action, time, and place. The Greek unity meant that there was only one story line, no sub-plots. The second unity of time required the whole of the action to take place within a twenty-four hour period, and the third unity of place, meant that it should take place in one setting. In 'An Inspector calls' there was only one storyline, and this storyline was that a girl, Eva Smith, commits suicide, and everybody in the house at this time were to blame, in some way, for the death of Eva Smith. The story is very different to many others as it begins to unravel as it goes on, thus confirming the first unity of action. The second unity of time is also confirmed because all the action takes place in a short period of time, properly about one to two hours. Stage time and real time are exactly the same; the only slight adjustment to chronology is the order in which the Inspector questions each of the Birlings. ...read more.

Conclusion

The particular way the entrances and exits are used adds to the drama and suspense of the play. A particular dramatic point in the play occurs at the end of Act 1, when Sheila and Gerald have been disgusting Gerald's relationship with Eva Smith. Gerald thinks he can keep certain details from the Inspector, but Sheila is all too aware that this is not possible, stating "Why - you fool - he knows, knows that we don't known yet." At this point the Inspector enters, looking steadily and searchingly at them and asks "Well?" The stage directions clearly reveal that the Inspector does know all the facts, thus increasing the tension of the moment. From this we can see that, Priestley has very cleverly structured the play to show the links between the characters and their involvement with the main character Eva Smith. His use of dramatic devices helps to sustain the tension, focusing the audience's interest and attention. I also believe that in-crafting 'An Inspector Calls' he has achieved his aim of making the audience think as at the end of the play we are left contemplating a number of issues and ideas, not least of which is what will happen next as Mr Birling answers the phone and informs his family that a girl has died having swallowed some disinfectant. The final twist of the play is, he makes us wonder how the characters will react with time, and, have they learnt their lesson? English Drama Coursework Kieran Sigsworth ...read more.

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