This play ‘The Inspector Calls’ is set in Edwardian times but was written in 1945, which was just after the Second World War.
The main message of the play is be careful how you treat others and that you should learn from your mistakes. If you do not learn from your mistakes again and again there will be dire consequences.The main character in this play is Mr Birling, he is the complete opposite of J.B Priestley because Birling is a capitalist and Priestly has socialist views. Before the part of the play I have been studying the inspector has just said his speech about fire, blood and anguish.One of the main reasons J.
B Priestley wrote this play was because he was enraged with capitalism. When Priestley was travelling the country he saw what the industrialists had done to Britain’s countryside. Another point that was incorporated in the play was that women were not treated fairly compared to men and Priestley found this unacceptable. One other point that was put into the play was that any system that let the disadvantaged poorer people in this world live along side the wealthy, privileged people had serious flaws. Priestley had just come from fighting in the frontline when he wrote this play and incorporated the World Wars into it.
People did not learn from the first World War and carried on the same way that they did before. The people did not learn so the Second World War came about.In an Inspector Calls J.B Priestley uses many dramatic effects and includes social and historical comments also.
The first dramatic effect used is when the doorbell rings. The Birlings look at each other in alarm. The audience do not see who is at the door.
This is dramatic because the audience is gripped, they do not know who is at the door. It could be the Inspector coming back.Gerald is at the door and comes in. Sheila tries to explain what happened after he had left Mrs Birling stops Sheila in her tracks. In a way this is dramatic because it shows how selfish, how she always thinks she’s right, stubborn and she always wants to be in control.
Mrs Birling is used to getting what she wants every time. She is not content when things are not going her way.’The rude way he spoke to Mr. Birling and me, it was quite extraordinary!’ This quote also shows how Mrs. Birling is used to getting her own way. Somebody speaking to her in this manner is horrendous to her because she is usually respected.The play is only in one room, this shows that the Birlings shelter themselves away from the real world, they see themselves as the important people in this good society.
When you scratch the surface of the society it is not so good and there is a lot of poverty. The Birlings are trying to ignore the fact that there are people in real trouble out there. The rich people are used to getting treated well and respected; the lower class however are treated like dirt. After Mrs.
Birling explains that the inspector spoke rudely to her Gerald mummers ‘hmm-hmm’. Under that line there are stage directions telling the actors to look ‘inquiringly’ at Gerald. This is dramatic because the audience wonder what Gerald is about to say. As Gerald is muttering Mr. Birling picks up on Gerald knowing something. ‘You know something. What is it? Before this sentence there are stage directions telling the actor to say the sentence ‘excitedly’.
‘That man wasn’t a police officer’ is a key sentence in the play because it changes the atmosphere to a happier more positive one. This sentence is a very dramatic sentence because the audience’s initial reaction is to gasp. Many questions go through the audience’s minds such as, how would Gerald know and why would someone pretend to be a police officer? To add to the drama there are stage directions telling the actor to say the sentence ‘slowly’. The actor also leaves gaps between some words, which make it dramatic because the audience are gripped waiting to hear the next word.
After this announcement the Birlings build up the positive atmosphere more and more, making excuses to try to get out of trouble. A very tense moment in the play is when Mr. Birling is about to ring up the Chief Constable to make certain about the inspector. This part is tense because what is said on the telephone is crucial to the play. A very clever dramatic device Priestley uses is the only person you hear speaking is Mr. Birling.
This makes the audience listen eagerly to conversation to try to interpret it.After Mr. Birling announces that there is no Inspector Goole on the police force the tension leaves and the mood turns positive again.
Gerald and Mr. Birling try to figure out who and why somebody pretended to be a police officer. Mr. Birling says- ‘There are people in this world who dislike me enough to do that’. This sentence shows that Mr. Birling treats the lower, less privileged people like dirt and he has no time for them. Eric and Sheila try to learn from their mistakes and a split in the family occurs. Eric and Sheila try to show the others that even if this didn’t happen it could have easily.
This split in the family is a dramatic device because arguments create tension and arguments are interesting because you want to see how people react.Later on in the play Gerald wonders if the girl that the inspector questioned each person about was the same girl. Even though the inspector has left his influence is still felt. At this point Gerald takes on the role of the inspector by questioning everybody, but instead of making them guilty he tries to lessen their guilt by making excuses and wriggling out of the situation.Throughout the play some of the words are in Italics. This is telling the actor/actress to put emphasis on the sentence.Later on in the play Gerald realizes that there may not be a dead girl at all. Gerald picks up the telephone and rings the infirmary and again you only hear Gerald speaking.
When Gerald is speaking Priestly makes sure that he does not give anything away. This is very dramatic because the audience is eager to know what is happening. Priestly makes the actors and actresses make expressions and this creates drama because you can tell if someone is nervous by their appearance and the audience notice the expressions on the characters faces.Near the end of the play Sheila takes on the role of the Inspector trying to make them realize that it is no joke and she brings up a very important little speech that the Inspector said just before he left. Sheila tells her parents and Gerald that if they did not learn then they must take the consequences in ‘fire, blood and anguish.’As Gerald, Mr. Birling and Mrs.
Birling are celebrating, a phone call comes through. Mr. Birling is speaking to the person on the line and puts the phone down. The next few minutes of the play are most exiting and dramatic.
Mr. Birling looks dumbfounded as he explains that there is a police inspector coming to ask the family some questions. In the last sentence there are a lot of pauses between words, which makes it dramatic because the audience just want him to get to the point. The last word Mr. Birling says before the phone call is ‘joke’.
This is important because he should not treat issues like this as a joke and this is ironic because when he least expects it he is shocked and it is definitely not a ‘joke’.