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N Inspector Calls

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How does Priestly use dramatic devices to express his political views in an Inspector Calls

An Inspector Calls is a play written by J.B Priestly. The play was first performed in 1945 however it is set in 1912. An Inspector calls is a murder mystery set in Edwardian England, just before the First World War. This was a very difficult time for several reasons. There were frequent strikes, food shortages and political instability. Similarly the period after the First World War was equally difficult. There was a shortage of money and rations and the labour force was diminished by casualties of war. Priestly uses the play to suggest that the country can be rebuilt through socialism where people work together as a society. The play reinforces a strong political message which is the idea of socialism. 1945 was the beginning of a political era dominated by socialism. After the war the Labour party was beginning to dominate the political climate. This is reflected in Priestly work which promotes the idea of a society in which community and responsibility are central. This contrasts with Capitalism as portrayed by Arthur Birling where every man has to look after his family and himself without thinking of other people.

Priestly uses many dramatic devices such as dramatic irony and tension to convey his message throughout the play. This is very important in the play as Birling makes a lot of false predictions which everybody knows were wrong at the time the play was performed in 1945. For example the Titanic sank shortly after the time the play was set. In the play the Inspector is trying to teach that we live in a society and we need to look out for each other not just ourselves.

At the beginning of the play, Priestly explains the whole set in great detail and shows how rich the Birling family is by describing the objects the family use. For example "Champagne glasses" and "dessert plates" and some other expensive items. Priestly also explains that the house is not "cosy or homelike." Characters are dressed formally giving the impression that they behave correctly. Mr Birling and Mrs Birling sicdt at opposites ends of the table showing their not close. The play uses many dramatic devices. One of which is the lighting used at the start to symbolise warm and relaxation. However this quickly changes to a bright spotlight when the inspector arrives. This dramatic device gives the impression that the Inspector is exposing characters for who they really are and revealing the truth. Dramatic Irony is used very early on in the play as Arthur Birling makes a speech on many predictions. He thinks "there is no chance of war" and that the titanic is "absolutely unsinkable". The play is set after two world wars and the sinking of the Titanic which makes the audience think Birling is a fool and no understanding of the world around him. The doorbell is also a dramatic effect as it breaks the calm mood and increases the suspense for the audience.

During the play, Priestly portrays Arthur Birling and The Inspector as very different. They both have different views about the purpose of society. Effectively Priestly uses the inspector to convey his views about socialism being the right path to follow. The Inspectors social responsibility is contrasted with Birlings view that "A man has to mind his own business, and looks after himself." He uses graphic imagery to shock the Birlings. "She'd swallowed a lot of strong disinfectant. Burnt her inside out of course" The Inspector strongly supports socialism as a way forward and Arthur Birling supports capitalism. At the end of act one Sheila confronts Gerald about his affair with Eva Smith. This is a dramatic climax to the act, leaving the audience eager to watch more. Throughout the first chapter, Priestley uses dramatic devices to imply that Gerald too will



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