Characterization, Dramatic Devices and Themes Used in Priestley's An Inspector Calls

Characterization, Dramatic Devices and Themes Used in Priestley's An Inspector Calls

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In this essay I will discuss why Priestley’s play ‘An Inspector Calls’ is effective, focusing on characterisation, dramatic devices and themes.
Firstly, I would like to take a closer look at the character of Mr.Birling. Soon after the play starts we know that Mr.Birling is a man of some significance and is respected when the text states that he’s a 'heavy-looking, rather portentous man in his middle fifties with fairly easy manners”. We also find that he is the one that first speaks in the play, this shows that he is a dominant character and because of the patriarchal society, he’s the head of the house and the one that makes the decisions. Despite the facts, he also thinks that he is the one that knows everything, but in most cases seems to be wrong. This is clear when he talks about how „there isn’t chance of war” and how Titanic, the luxury ship which at the time was about to sail next week is ‘absolutely unsinkable’. Of course, we know that in fact, Titanic did sink in 1912 and World War 1 started not long after that. Priestley knew that as well, and therefore by including these phrases in the play wanted to underline the fact that Mr.Birling is a selfish and unresponsible individual, who doesn’t seem to care about the effect of his actions on other members of the community.
Another character who Priestley used to make the play more effective is Eric. It is from the beginning of the play , that we know that Eric is somehow different from the rest of his family members. We find that unlike others, he does not speak often and is a listener rather than a speaker. Eric is one of the main characters that creates the sense of unease throughout the play, especially when conversation between Gerald and Mr.Birling is taking pl...


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...of how The fact that only Eric and Sheila understand that there need’s to be a change and feel guilty for Eva’s death, even after they find that there was no suicide, might suggest that Priestley believes that young people can give us hope and together make the change for the future.
Overall, Priestley has written an effective, profound play which is not only meant to be entertaining, but also will teach people that we should always take responsibility for our actions and think about how our actions affect other people around us. He used several methods to create a community and characters that may reflect some of us in our world and showed us what can be the consequences of it. He did not only want to warn people but to encourage us to keep together not as individuals, but as a ”one body” and to make sure we treat each other fairly.


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