Inspector Calls

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An Inspector calls
An inspector calls was written by J.B Priestley in 1934 and performed in 1945, 33 years after the war. But the play itself is set around 1912 just before the war broke out, the play is a neutralistic, mystery drama about a middle class family named the Birlings who all have a mischievous secret that involves the death of Eva Smith, which teaches people a lesson about social justice. When the play opens the Birling family are cheerfully celebrating the engagement of the beloved Shelia Birling and well-known bachelor Gerald Croft. Just as Arthur Birling is half way through his memorable speech unannounced an inspector named inspector Goole abruptly enters. Inspector Goole has come to bombard the family with questions about the tragic suicide of Eva Smith. The inspector wants to teach the Birlings respect and morals about class and social justice. The inspectors character is actually J.B Priestley, he acts as the authorial voice as this was his way of getting his views across. J.B Priestley was a socialist and believed in equality for all. But also his aim of the play was to entertain because if the play did not do that then the message, that everyone has a duty of respect to their fellow man, regardless of class i.e. rich or poor, would not get across. The dates were important as the play was set in 1945, the dates are relevant throughout the play as the audience watching was recovering from war and society didn’t have the pressure of capitalism anymore. So they knew a lot of what the characters say isn’t true, making it humorous and ironic. The genre of inspector calls is a detective thriller. The playwright uses a variety of different dramatic devices to influence the audience. One of the main devices used was dramatic irony. Dramatic irony is used early on in the play as it’s a device used to convey Priestley’s portrayal of the character of Mr Birling as he speaks his mind in his speech about war “You’ll hear some people say that wars inevitable. And to that I say fiddlesticks...” “The new liner last week the titanic ….unsinkable” This is humorously ironic as what Mr Birling is saying is wrong because the titanic did sink and the audience knows this as it’s after the war. Priestley’s goal was to make the audience dislike Mr Birling as he is the antithesis to everything Priestley stands for. Throughout the play Mr Birling demonstrates this by showing that forming an alliance is more important to him than his daughters marriage “And now you’ve brought us together and perhaps we may look forward to the time when Crofts and Birlings are no longer competing but working together” this shows the audience that Mr. Birling is a hard headed business man and work comes first. The lighting at the beginning of the play is pink and intimate as the Birling family are lovingly celebrating a special occasion the engagement of Shelia and Gerald, we are told this at the beginning of act one as one of Priestley’s stage directions “the lighting should be pink and intimate. This lighting represents the mood as everyone is happy and cheerful full of love for one another and the joining of the two families. But as the doorbell rings the lighting changes, becoming brighter and harder as Mr Birling discovers there’s a police inspector at the door “all right. Edna show him in here , give us some more light” this emphases how the mood as changed and how Mr. Birling is feeling, it has become more orquid as the chosen time the inspector arrives is coincidental to the conversation Mr Birling was having with Eric and Gerald. The ringing of the doorbell plays a major pat at the beginning of the play as the time it rings is no accident just as Mr Birling is lecturing Eric and Gerald about its every man for himself, making his own way the doorbell rings “A man has to make his own way”, we hear the, “sharp ring of a doorbell” This gives a dramatic effect as its ironic because the person at the door is the inspector who is the catalyst...
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