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

What dramatic techniques does J B Priestley use to sustain the audience’s interest in the play?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What dramatic techniques does J B Priestley use to sustain the audience's interest in the play? J.B. Priestley uses a great number of ways to sustain the audience's interest in 'An Inspector Calls' by using a variety of dramatic techniques. The play was set in 1912, and being set at this time, there was not only the opportunity for predictions, but also for a more drastic look at the relationship between the rich and the poor. The class gap of 1912 was much larger than that of 1946, and so was more noticeable to the audiences. Priestley tries to put a number of messages across to the audience with dramatic devices. In the play he teaches of how, '...man will be taught in fire, blood and anguish.' The whole play is centred around the inspectors' constant interrogation and questioning. This enables us to understand the characters' personalities, their morals, values, and abilities to realise their own mistakes and change. It is through this interrogation that most, if not all of the relevant information in the play is unveiled, allowing us to go from that state of ignorance to the state of knowledge. The character of Inspector Goole is mysterious. This air of mystery is intentional. He is mysterious because of his character. The name Inspector Goole is an obvious pun. We as an audience never find out who this Inspector is. There are many possibilities - he could be the ghost of Eva Smith avenging her death; he could be some form of cosmic balance, keeping people considerate; he could be amass hallucination brought on by too much champagne of something in the food. He could be anybody or anything. Priestley left the character as a mystery so as to have a larger impact on the audience, making them think more about the play, and helping them think more about the messages the play brings. ...read more.

Middle

Although the inspector was a hoax and the girl wasn't dead all the things that everyone did to her really happened. Sheila was trying to make everyone see that. She is really angry that her parents are just going to go on the way they always have and she says, "So nothing really happened. So there's nothing to be sorry for, nothing to learn. We can all go on behaving just as we did". Sheila doesn't like this and she lets them know how she feels. After this the family learn that a girl has just died after swallowing disinfectant and they all stare guiltily and dumbfounded at each other. Priestley uses the inspector's constant interrogation in order to develop the plot. The fact that through this questioning the audience, as well as the characters in the play move from ignorance to knowledge proves the effectiveness of this interrogation. The plot is also developed by the fluidity of the action, and how everything fits into place. He uses the dramatic unities of time and place very successfully, this is achieved by the whole play-taking place in that one location - the dining room and the events running incessantly throughout the play. These are examples of how the principle of the detective story is used to develop the plot of the play. Another example is the mood changes that are so effective in "An Inspector Calls", the atmosphere is so happy and the future seems so positive at the beginning of the play with the celebration of Sheila's engagement to Gerald; the mood gradually becomes more dull with it hitting a climax as the inspector delivers his departure speech and very bad things are predicted for the future. The use of this convention to develop the plot is also evident through the fact that reality is combined with the uncertainty of the inspector's and Eva's identities, which is a common occurrence in detective stories. ...read more.

Conclusion

It symbolises that you can't run from your conscience, as the Birlings will find out. Priestley uses the dramatic twist of the Inspector returning at the end of the play to emphasis this point, and makes it more effective by placing it just as the characters are beginning to relax. It serves to 'prick' the consciences of both the characters and the audience. At the end of reading the play, I was left feeling as if I would like to think I had learned from the example of the Birlings and the message it contained. As it is a play though, I would have liked to see it acted out. The ending is well crafted, leaving an open ending to add to the dramatic effect, but looking at it differently, there is not really another way to have ended the play after that plot twist other than an open ending where it was without ruining the play itself. I think the majority of people who have seen this play would have liked to think of themselves as an Eric or a Sheila. The aim of Priestley when he wrote this play, I believe, was to make us think, to make us question our own characters and beliefs. He wasted to show us that we can change, and we can decide which views we side with. He wanted us to ask ourselves if we wanted to be a Sheila, an Eric or an Arthur. Or, were we in-between like Gerald. Priestley wanted the audience to learn from the mistakes of the Birlings. I think that Priestley wanted to make a difference; not a world changing difference, but a small difference in the way people think. Then, if you think of every person who coming out of the play gave some money to a beggar in the street, you would see that Priestley did make a difference. It would have changed people's views on society, however small those changes would be, and so Priestley achieved his aims in writing the play using different dramatic techniques to sustain the audience interest and attention. ...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. Compare and contrast the characters of Mr. Birling and inspector Goole. How does Priestley ...

    Priestly is trying to say that the inspector is not a real Inspector but can be the voice of a conscience. Priestly also uses dramatic devices to shape the audiences response by when Birling spoke about the titanic, when to the audience it had already sunk.

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

    The actor in this role would need to be able to illustrate this or the character will have less dramatic influence. 'The inspector makes more of an impression on the younger characters that the older ones. Show two contrasting characters.

  1. How does the character of Sheila Birling, develop throughout this play?

    Suddenly, we see a totally different side to Sheila. She feels awful that while she had been having such a good time, somebody else had been having completely the opposite. We can now see her as a caring and warm girl, but that is not to last. Sheila: Oh. I wish you hadn't told me. (Act 1, page 17)

  2. What effect does the visit of Inspector Goole have on the Birling family? How ...

    His reaction to the tragic news of Eva's death was "my god!" Eric sees equality in people, standing up to his father about why such people like Eva have every right to protest for higher wages "Well I think it's a damn shame. Why shouldn't she try for higher wages?

  1. How does Priestley create tension in the play through characterisation, structure and atmosphere?

    He also reveals that he met her again a fortnight afterwards that sordid night that he could not remember, but not by appointment and that he could not remember her name or where she lived, and that he liked her and that they did make love again not to her refusal.

  2. "An Inspector Calls" has been called a play of social criticism. What is being ...

    Eric cannot understand Mr Birling's desire for 'a knighthood' and laughs hysterically saying 'Oh - for God's sake. What does it matter now whether they give you a knighthood or not?' Eric can clearly see the hypocrisy in Mr Birling's attitude and this enables the audience to identify with Eric and feel the potential for change in his character.

  1. 'An Inspector calls' is set in 1912 and was written for a 1946 audience. ...

    The third and final statement that I am going to analyse is; 'the language is out of date, and no longer effective'. In order to do this, I will look at one specific section in the play, and distinguish which type of language, if any, is out of date.

  2. "An Inspector Calls is a modern morality play disguised as a detective drama." Show ...

    Furthermore the audience's interest is maintained when no arrests or punishments occur; this act also creates suspense before the revelation is revealed. Priestley uses other twists in Act 3 to sustain the dramatic tension.

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