Use of structure in An Inspector Calls

  • Created by: nawaal20
  • Created on: 10-11-18 20:48

Use of structure in An Inspector Calls

An Inspector Calls is written in three acts. Priestley cleverly structures the acts so that they end on gripping cliff-hangers. There is also a final climax and then a twist at the very end. This use of structure helps to keep the audience gripped and on the edge of their seats.

Before the play

As we know, the Inspector is here to investigate the death of Eva Smith. What the audience don't know is what happened in the two years prior to the evening the play takes place. Priestley slowly reveals these events. We never actually meet Eva Smith but we empathise with her as a character. It is through the Inspector that we get a sense of who she is and what happened to her.

In the following extract, the Inspector begins his investigation and reveals why he is at the Birlings'.

Inspector: I'd like some information, if you don't mind, Mr Birling. (1)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. (2) Burnt her inside out, of course.

Eric: (involuntarily) My god!

Inspector: Yes, (3) she was in great agony. They did everything they could for her at the infirmary, but she died. Suicide, of course.

  • (1) The fact this happened to Eva two hours ago makes the death seems very current.
  • (2) The description of how she burnt


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