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What Relevance Does the Metaphor “Iceberg Right Ahead” have for the characters and plot of 'An Inspector Calls'?

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Kishan Morar 10JA Coursework- What relevance does the Metaphor "Iceberg Right Ahead" have for the characters and plot of An Inspector Calls 'An Inspector Calls' is a play by J.B Priestley, which was set in 1912, and written in 1934. This play is about the Birling family, who are wealthy and upper class people. The Birlings are involved in a mystery, and the Inspector questions each of them. The mystery is about a girl called Eva Smith in her twenties, she committed suicide by drinking disinfectant. They are all involved in this mystery and the Inspector wants to find out why Eva committed suicide. In Act One, the family speak and do things like a normal upper class family. They are very calm together as a family and they and they can talk about many things. They treat each other well, but if someone says or does anything wrong, they have a little quarrel about it, 'You're squiffy.' 'I'm not.' 'What an expression, Sheila! Really the things you girls pick up these days!' When the characters are saying their story, they build themselves up to a fall, by the fast hard questions that the Inspector stays to them. ...read more.


The family cannot stop the Inspector from answering his questions, 'Is there any reason why my wife should answer questions from you, Inspector?', and for his tone of voice, '(angrily) Inspector. I've told you before I don't like your tone nor the way you're handling this inquiry.' The Iceberg is harmless but frightening; this is because it doesn't look dangerous when you are close to it. When you are close to the Iceberg, it is frightening and scary because it's so big and still, you are wondering about all these thoughts in your head like what it might do. The Inspector is not like this but he is similar to the Iceberg. This is because he isn't scary when you look at him or isn't still all the time. When the Inspector has a conversation with a member, at first doesn't seem harmless or anything. When the truth is spoken by a family member or the Inspector, it frightens them, '(distressed) Sorry-I-well, I've suddenly realized-taken it in properly-that she's dead-' These all show that the metaphor is like the Inspector in the play, and that he is harmless but as you get to know the Inspector, he is frightening. ...read more.


This shows that in both occasions they are scared and terrified. In the film, they are worried about what might the iceberg do to the ship and in the play, they are worried about who is on the phone and what the person might want. The relevance to the characters is that the reactions and the attitude to what they hear from each other scares them. This is because when the metaphor is said in the film, the person's reaction is that he is shocked and worried. In the play, the characters are shocked when someone says the truth about Eva Smith and how they let her down in a way in her life. The family are shocked by the news that the family member gives, and they have a little cry over it, '(with a cry) Oh-Eric-how could you?' and this shows that what has happened to him and the feelings in there mind. There are many different ways that dramatic technique is used, quick questions, expressions by the stage directions short sentences and the punctuation used. These all make the play more interesting and exciting, so that you can picture the play in your mind when you read. ...read more.

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