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What makes Inspector calls a successful play?

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What Makes 'An Inspector Calls' a successful play? An inspector calls was written by J. B. Priestley in 1945. Set in the 1912's in Brumley, an industrial city in the North Midlands. Arthur Birling is a prosperous manufacturer who is celebrating the engagement of his daughter Sheila Birling to Gerald Croft. The general mood at the time was pleased, excited, and generally happy. During this celebration an inspector calls and informs the family that a young girl has died from suicide in the infirmary. Slowly everyone begins to reveal a hidden secret. Tension rises and falls. When the inspector leaves the family discover he was a fraud. A mild conflict is still in the atmosphere due to what was previously revealed, until the local police station calls informing that '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-'. So the story practically re-starts again. The first to be affected by the news was Arthur Birling. He is shown a photograph of the girl who he sacked from his factory for wanting an increased wage and going on strike. He begins to get agitated by the inspector because he believes that his actions had nothing to do with the suicide unlike the inspector. ...read more.


Consequently the girl became pregnant. Eric began to give Eva Smith money so that she could have some quality of life. Soon she refused, as she understood it was stolen. Eric becomes rather quite depressed. He feels responsible for her death. He includes others for this victim's pain. 'We did her in all right'. After questioning all the characters become quite unrelaxed and guilty until Gerald Croft discovers that Inspector Goole is a fraud. Tension begins to settle and Mr and Mrs Birling become quite relaxed and humorous. Gerald admitting to an affair hurts Sheila. Eric still believes the girl's death is his fault. The infirmary is called and tension settles further when they find out no such suicide had occurred. I think part of Priestley's message here is that faithfulness in family and relationship is vital. It's amazing what an imposer who is a fraud can unravel and then make a family and couple fall apart. Be honest and pray for forgiveness when you sin. Or in the perfect world don't sin. But we don't belong in a perfect world so you have to have some expectations of bad events and just gradually learn how to deal with them and hopefully make the right decision for yourself. ...read more.


The exit of Eric Birling is a worry to the family because they do not know his capabilities. The general theme is family crisis and how a single action can have such a large consequence or consequences. The 1940s audience and the generations of today would find this play interesting because of the amount of dramatic irony that is included in the script. For example: 1912: -the Titanic-she sets sail next week-forty-six thousand eight hundred tonnes-New York in five days-and every luxury-and unsinkable-absolutely unsinkable. Many situations arise in this play when a character speaks lines that are understood in a double sense only by the audience. J.B. Priestley makes spectacular use of dramatic irony in the play, particularly through Birlings first major speeches. The play was set in 1912 before First World War, Titanic, the Russian Revolution and the Wall Street crash. First audiences would have viewed following the Second World War. In my opinion, An Inspector Calls is such a successful play because of the dramatic irony content and the amount of tension that a single character can build up. Finally the loop of the play at the end. In some ways you are left on a cliff-hanger, you may have ideas as to what happens next because of previous context but you are left wondering . A very skilful piece of drama by J.B. Priestley. I really enjoyed the structure and dramatic irony of the play. ...read more.

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

    anything to do with the girl's suicide as that the girl left the firm nearly two years ago. At this point Gerald decides that he is not needed in the conversation; Birling introduces Gerald to the inspector, and he decides sternly that he would like Mr Gerald Croft would stay.

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    Its wonderful!" Sheila is probably used to her Father putting the world to right and doesn't agree with what he is saying. Birling's ideas and philosophies are total ludicrous and most of the time he is totally wrong! He is a snob and wants everything to evolve around him.

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