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“An Inspector Calls” by J. B. Priestley Essay Sample

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“An Inspector Calls” by J. B. Priestley Essay Sample

This is a play set in 1912 as it was written in this year. It was not until 33 years later in 1945 when it was first preformed. The genre of this play is fiction as it is based on a murder mystery. It is set in one evening in spring.

In this play it consisted of seven characters. All these characters were main, as they all had big and equally important parts.

The characters:

Arthur Birling – Father

Sybil Birling – Mother

Shelia Birling – Daughter

Eric Birling – Son

Edna – Maid

Gerald Croft – Son-in-law to be

Inspector Goole- Police Inspector

The play is mainly based on an inspector trying to teach a family a lesson. As he believes the way this family live there lives and treat other people in a horrible manner. As the play goes on the more information some which was hidden at the begging comes visible/known to the audience. The lesson the inspector wants to teach them is that what they are doing is wrong. They cannot treat people the way they want just because there status is high in the community. Plus at least one example for each character doing this becomes known. The inspector starts off suttle and then his approach to the situation becomes harsher and harsher.

The inspector starts off talking to Mr Birling and works his way through the rest of the family. He tells them in an underhand way no matter what the class of people you must not use your class in your advantage. This way the lesson is for them to reconsider there actions.

Priestley’s main concern were the way rich people used there power to commit evil. This play was an example of reality, it showed the kind of things that used to happen so Priestly wanted to show it to other people. That it was wrong and that is used to happen. This was his way to make known to people that situations like these are taking place. Also this helped show people this was wrong it was more like an eye opener.

There is a lot of irony of this play such as;

They are talking about the war ad how it will not happen and how the Titanic will not sink. Which happened after the play was written, Mr Birling also talks about how the Titanic will not sink. Then later on we discover the Titanic does actually sink. These are good ways to show it was written before the war. It also gives us an insight to the mentally of thinking behind people in those days. The thinking behind people in 1912 was that they can use there powder in which ever way the like, whether it affects other people or not. They believed they were in the right every time.

The lighting changed throughout the whole play mainly when in the presence of the Inspector. Before the Inspector arrives the mood is calm so the light was a cosy pink. It was brighter and became harsher on the arrival of the inspector. The sharp light was outside the “pink zone” and entered the outside world. It was also when the spotlight came on it was as if they were on the spot during the time they were being interrogated by the inspector.

In this way there were not many sound effects. Including the door bell, I believe that was the only sound effect. The reason they added this sound effect is to break the family dinner and enter the outside world it’s as if they “pink zone” has been broken. It was like someone entering the family zone and turning it into reality whilst bringing in the outside world.

When introducing a character there was normally a drastic change in the mood and light. So it shows a character is either entering or leaving. They needed to make this clear as when the inspector started gathering information. The family’s pink zone was breaking up more and more. It’s almost as if they are being brought back to reality from there safe family zone.

At the end of most acts it was left as cliff hanger this is to make you want to read more and think to yourself what could possible happen next. For example at the end of act 1 is when Shelia is asking Gerrald what his connection was with this Eva Smith. So it stops when she is asking him questions so this cliff hanger is whether he tells Shelia the truth or whether he lies. These cliff hangers were purposely put there by Priestly so you want to read more. He leaves you intrigued of what will happen.

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