Structure, form and Dramatic features in An Inspector Calls

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  • Structure, form and Dramatic features in An Inspector Calls
    • There are 3 main acts, each one for a new development in he plot and mystery
      • Act 1 is Mr Birling's questioning
      • Act 2 is Gerald and Sheila
      • Act 3 is Sybil and Eric- perhaps the most extreme reveal in the play.
      • Cyclical structure
    • Well-made play
      • Exposition (the opening) is a gentle introduction, giving background context, themes and main characters.
      • To increase the suspense in the play the Entrances and Exits are used to time how the scene will build or reduce tension.
        • The tone of the play changes a lot. When being questioned, even though they know they will not be charged of anything, they are still desperate to clear themselves of responsibility
      • Obligatory scenes are used to define which scenes will be more dramatic.
      • The Climactic Curtain is when the act ends on a dramatic reveal or part in the play.
      • The Plot of a Well-made play is centred around one major story arc. AIC does not completely conform to this, as the characters retell their own 'sub-plot'
      • The Denouement - is the ending of the play that must have logical and plausible reasoning. Some may argue that AIC does not fit this.
    • The Unities
      • This is Classical Greek Theatre, with a set structure called unities.
        • Action (One storyline)
        • Time (The time-scale of the Drama must not be more than 24 hours
        • Place (It is set in one place
      • The "Greek Chorus" is similar to the inspector as he is someone who continues to influence the lessons to be learned and what they have found out so far.
      • The Denouement -Ending,  should be a learning experience for the audience and the characters.
        • Even though some of the characters have not learnt their lesson, the audience have been influenced by Priestley's theme of responsibility throughout.
    • Stage Directions
      • The help imagine exactly what is happening, as this is not a novel but a play, meant to be expressed and performed
      • . The lighting is also important is setting atmosphere and tone. It should be "pink and intimate before the inspector arrives and “brighter and harder” when he gets there. .
        • All of a sudden it’s as if the audience know the play has just become more serious than before, this also builds anticipation
    • Dramatic Irony and Language
      • Mr birling uses this most with his speech about no war, the titanic not sinking
      • The effect this has o the audience, makes Birling seem pretentious and arrogant. He believes everything he says and expects the people around him to too
      • Also the words of the inspector reflect how his character is god like and all seeing.
    • Morality Play
      • The main point of Mortality Play is to teach the audience a lesson on one of the seven deadly sins.
        • For example, Sheila shows envy and acts with wrath in getting Eva fired. She then experiences guilt. Gerald shows lust and Mr Birling is very Greedy with status and wealth.
        • In effect, the audience heavily judge them, but at the end are also left wondering how they live their own lives and who they are hurting. Priestly (being a socialist) would have wanted the audience to leave as improved people.
      • Sometimes with characters like Sheila and Eric, when they try to accept their responsibility and show remorse for Eva they redeem themselves (more so than their parents
    • Detective Story
      • This is based around a crime (Eva’s Death) The audience go along taking clues and hints from events and the characters, guessing the outcomes and who is guilty
      • They do not actually commit crimes (Apart for Eric raping Eva) They just do immoral things that only benefit themselves
        • In this sense it is not  a  typical 'Whodunnit'  as we do not know whether their crimes are immoral of criminal.
      • people watching may realise that they too have done things that are considered wrong and dishonest.

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