In Act One of ‘An Inspector Calls’ how does J.B Priestley use dramatic devices to convey his concerns and ideas to the members of the audience, as well as interest and involve them in his play?

In Act One of ‘An Inspector Calls’ how does J.B Priestley use dramatic devices to convey his concerns and ideas to the members of the audience, as well as interest and involve them in his play?

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In Act One of `An Inspector Calls' how does J.B Priestley use dramatic devices to convey
his concerns and ideas to the members of the audience, as well as interest and involve them
in his play?
J.B. Priestley wrote `An Inspector Calls' in 1945, the year that the Second World War came to
an end. The events of the play occur in 1912, two years before the outbreak of World War
One. The play illustrates how an uncaring society will lead to disastrous consequences for
individuals who are not lucky enough to be born into wealthy families, and how a lack of
community spirit will lead to conflict and war. In 1912, rigid class and gender boundaries
seemed to ensure that nothing would change. Yet by 1945, most of those class and gender
divisions had been breached. Priestley wanted to make the most of these changes. Through
this play, he encourages people to seize the opportunity the end of the war had given them
to build a better, more caring society. This time period was an era of huge social inequality,
and social class was the main division between people, pretty much determining the shape
your life would take. Social mobility was rare (this is why Mr Birling is so pleased that his
daughter may be marrying a man above her social class, so that association will elevate the
whole family).
The themes in `An Inspector Calls' are responsibility, morality and mystery. I believe that the
inspector conveys the theme of responsibility as he wanted everyone family member to
share the responsibility of Eva's death. `Each of you helped to kill her' and this illustrated the
fact that all of the Birlings were involved with Eva Smith's death. `One Eva Smith has gone -
but there are millions and millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with
us, with their lives, their hopes and fears, their suffering and chance of happiness, all
intertwined with our lives, and what we think and say and do.' I believe that the inspector
sees every one as one and that society is more important than individual interests. This
quote not only shows the sense of responsibility towards the characters too but it is also
aimed at the audience sending out Priestley's message. By using this quote I think that
Priestley wanted to show that in society everyone is linked just like the Birlings were linked
to Eva Smiths's death.
The genre of the play is mainly suspense, tragedy and mystery. These three genres fold
together to build up the play as the whole play is about a tragedy, which would be the death
or Eva Smith, and the mystery of why she committed suicide. `Inspector: I'd like some
information, if you don't mind, Mr Birling. Two hours ago a young woman died in the
infirmary. She'd been taken there this afternoon because she'd swallowed a lot of strong
disinfectant. Burnt her inside out, of course.' When this was said by the inspector this
created a tense and sorrowful atmosphere within the audience. This was when the audience
first found out about the tragedy. `Eric: (involuntarily) My God!' This illustrates that Eric was

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There was a sign of suspense shown by
Priestley from the beginning of the play `Sheila: (half serious, half playful) Yes - except for all
the last summer, when you never came near me, and I wondered what had happened to
you.' Here the tension builds up as we start to have doubt into the whereabouts of Gerald
was and why he was away from his fiancé.…read more

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And to that I say ­ fiddlesticks! The
Germans don't want war. Nobody wants war...' the audience know that there was a war and
at this point they would feel uncomfortable but omnipotent as they have experienced war
and the horrors of it. Another example of dramatic irony would be the big speech given by
Mr Birling when he is lecturing Eric Birling. `Birling: ... look at the progress we're making.…read more

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Priestley has placed the ring of the door bell interrupting Mr Birlings
speech emphasises the tension of the atmosphere as we can tell that it was unexpected.
`Sharp' illustrates to us that it should be noticed and it gives us the idea in our head that
something isn't quite right if someone unexpected has come to the Birling's house.…read more

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Eva Smith. The fact that Sheila has been responsible for Eva's death wasn't
as big of an issue to the audience because she was the only one that accepted her
responsibility. She is the only one that realises that the inspector is correct and that he
knows what he is talking about.…read more

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Act one where we first found out that Gerald was keeping his
distance from Sheila. Mrs Birling then backs up Gerald and says `Now, Sheila, don't tease him.
When you're married you'll realise that men with important work to do sometimes have to
spend nearly all their time and energy on their business. You'll get used to that, just as I
had.' When Mrs Birling had said this we begin to question whether Mr Birling has also been
having an affair.…read more

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I'm sorry daddy' and `look ­ mummy ­ isn't it a beauty? Oh ­
darling' She seems to use simple and playful language. Later on in the play as the
investigation is going on she builds up confidence and uses blunt English just like the
inspector. `Between us we drove that girl to commit suicide.' Sheila doesn't show any doubt
and accepts her responsibility. She directly disagrees with her parents. `I tell you ­ whoever
that inspector was, it was anything but a joke.…read more

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Inspector: Well?' This is at the end of Act one when we are left to think about
what the purpose of the play and it also left us to think about what may happen next.
I enjoyed the play because Priestley effectively conveys his concerns through the actions of
a diverse family, the Birlings.…read more

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