The Use of Dramatic Devices in An Inspector Calls By J.B Priestly

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The Use of Dramatic Devices in An Inspector Calls By J.B Priestly

In An Inspector Calls by J.B Priestly an inspector is introduced who

wants to show and teach the Birling family. He wants to teach the

Birlings about being responsible for their actions and that their

actions can severe consequences. Priestly's main concern is to make to

make the world a better place to live in for everyone. The date 1912

in which the play is set in is important because two years later World

War One broke out. This is ironic because when the play is written in

1945 and that is when World War Two had just ended also this is when

the first audience watched. So the first audience were aware of what

starts wars, as well the social ideas behind the play would have

stuck. An inspector Calls belongs in a mystery, detective play in

addition to a play of social morals.

In An Inspector Calls, J.B Priestly uses a variety of different

dramatic devices to influence the audience in Act 1. First of all,

Priestly uses dramatic irony very early on in Act 1. Mr Birling has a

very long speech that he gives at Sheila and Gerald's engagement; he

speaks about the titanic being unsinkable but ironically it sinks. He

also declares that no-one want war however two years later World War 1

starts. In addition he says that the world would have forgotten about

Capital versus Labour but it is ironic because the Labour Party is

voted in parliament for the first time in England in 1945. Priestly

makes Birling's judgement wrong because he wants to show the audience

Mr. Birling can't be trusted, arrogant, pompous and has opinions on


Another example of dramatic iron...

... middle of paper ...

... checks himself). As well the whole of act one is ironic as Eva Smith's

suicide hasn't even happened yet. The reason for inspector Goole visit

is for showing the Birlings and Gerald their actions have serious


Our opinions of Birlings at first were that they a very normal rich


Responsibility is one of the play's key themes, and the Inspector is

Priestley's vehicle for putting across his own views of this as a

socialist. In this final speech, he is speaking as much to the

audience as to the characters on stage. His words here are a warning

to an audience in 1945 not to repeat the selfish mistakes that led to

the 'fire and blood and anguish' of two World Wars and the years

between them. Also the message of responsibility is still relevant

today as capitalism is still in this modern day world.
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