An Inspector Calls - Language & Dramatic Techniques

Revision notes (taken from the Letts and CGP revision books)

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  • Created by: Sarah
  • Created on: 21-05-12 14:01

How the way the play looks is reflected in is mess

  • The play takes place in one room: This suggests the characters have closed themselves off from the world with their close-minded behaviour


  • The stage directions at the beginning say the lighting is "pink and intimate" as if the birlings are looking through 'rose tinted glasses'.
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Dramatic Techniques

Building Tension

  • Preistly delays the action by shifting the audiences attention  to increase the audiences curiosity
  • Preistly has the Inspector release information bit by bit - the characters, like the audience are kept on their toes.

Entrances and exits

  • An exit can signal a character escaping someone or something like the intense atmosphere
  • The inspector uses exits to draw information out of the other characters (Sheila and Gerald left alone to discuss Daisy Renton)

Beginnings and Endings of Acts

  • Act one and Act two are the same moment : makes the audience wonder which builds suspense and the end of Act two is another cliffhanger.
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Language reveals more about the characters


  • The birlings use words that were popular with middle and upper class people of 1912:
  • Words such as "chap" show the characters social class. It also suggests the characters are comfortable with eachother
  • Some slang words were popular with the younger generation (Sybil shocked when Sheila says "squiffy")
  • Birling uses buisness language to descibe being fooled "an elaborate sell!" The fact that this links sales with tricks suggests that Mr. Birling isn't an honest buisnessman
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Inspector Gooles Language

  • Uses plain and direct language (contrasts with Mr Birling's long waffly speech in Act 1)
  • Uses silence ("disconcerting habbit)
  • Oder Birlings find him offensive because of his manner and language (he is "rude" and "impertinent")
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Sheila's Language

  • At the start of the play Sheilas's uses simpla and childish language ("Im sorry, Daddy" when she's admiring her ring instead of listening to her father)
  • By the end of the play she is confident and assertive
  • Preistly makes Sheila's voice sound full of emotion - her language seems emotional and from the heart
  • She directly disagrees with her parents and tells them they are wrong
    (Children of this time were expected to be obedient and unquestioning)
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Language Techniques: Dramatic Irony

  • The inspector is seeming omniscient (he knows everything) and Preistly gives similar power to the audience. The Audience know alot of what Mr. Birling dissmisses actually happens
  • Dramtic irony makes Mr Birling look shrortsighted.
  • In Act One Mr Birling talks about getting a knighthood unless there's a "scandal" which he jokes "complacently" about but from the title we know that something (' a scandal') happens because an Inspector Calls
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Language Techniques: Euphemism

  • Eva/Daisy "went on the sreets" where she led "another kind of life" becoming a "woman of interest" : These are all euphemisms for he becoming a prostitute
  • To Mrs Birling Eva/Daisy is in a partiuar "condition" (Pregnant)
  • The Inspector doesnt use euphemisms, his language is direct. (This links in with the themes as this is part of the Inspectors message of accepting the truth and using euphemisms does the oppostite as it covers things up)
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These are so detailed! Thank you!

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