This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

An Inspector's Call By Priestley Essay

696 words - 3 pages

How does Priestley create drama and tension in ‘An Inspector Calls’?
 
In 1945 J.B. Priestley wrote the play ‘An Inspector Calls’. It was set in 1912.He created a lot of tension since his arrival? but what I’m here to investigate is, how did Priestley make the tension created effective? In this essay I hope to explore and evaluate the play to find the answers to these questions. In particular ‘How does Priestley create tension in the end of act 2 ‘An Inspector Calls’?
 The end of Act 2 is full with drama and tension as all the clues that have been dropped finally come to sense to the audience. Although it is not mentioned, Priestley makes it clear that the inspector knew that Eric Birling was the father of Eva Smith's child and had wanted for Ms Birling to declare what punishment she believed should be given to the young man "Make sure that he's compelled to confess in public his responsibility." The stage direction (with sudden alarm) adds to the tension that Priestley ...view middle of the document...

Inspector Goole wants to emphasise what she has just said so he keeps asking what should be done to the young man. She replies that he should be “compelled to confess in public his responsibility”. By saying this, Mrs Birling not only shifts the blame off her own shoulders, but puts it onto her son’s. She cannot accept her own guilt because she is stubborn. She doesn’t see the Inspector’s power and tries to outsmart him.
 

Social vs. individual responsibility
‘We don’t live alone. We are members of one body.’ So states Inspector Goole in his final speech.
His character can be seen as a device to voice Priestley’s views about social responsibility. To
what extent do the other characters learn from their encounter with Goole, and how far do
members of the audience agree with him?
Older vs. younger generations
Why are Mr and Mrs Birling so much more concerned about the potential for “public scandal” than
the consequences of their behaviour? Sheila and Eric Birling represent the future: surely there is
still time for them to change and adapt to the new order? Can their relationships with the other
characters, more entrenched in their views and social positions, survive?
Staging
Detailed stage directions are provided, but Priestley himself makes clear that “an ordinary realistic
set” may not do the play justice. What staging decisions can enhance the drama and tension, and
how can recent productions inform our understanding of the lasting significance of this play?
Status and power
At first, the main characters are united in their desire for social status. The arrival of Inspector
Goole undermines the natural paths of authority within the household, so how does power shift as
the action progresses?
The place of women
Represented by Sybil and Sheila Birling, the servant Edna and the invisible but omnipresent Eva/
Daisy, women are seen variously as innocents, social climbers, victims and suspects. How are
issues of gender played out and do they enrich or detract from the moral and political messages?
Genre
A murder mystery, a ghost story or a parable? The deceptively simple play follows the ‘three
unities’ (time, space and action) of Greek drama, but can be read in a number of ways.

Other Essays Like An Inspector's Call by Priestley

J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls Essay

837 words - 4 pages J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls I think that the main theme of An Inspector Calls is responsibility, because the Inspector's questioning reveals the irresponsible behaviour of each of the other characters in turn. There are a lot of lies told in this play. Every character lies except the maid. In with the lies there is also hypocrisy e.g. when Mrs

How Does Priestley Present Mr Birling Priestley Presents the Character of Mr Birling as a Symbol of the Capitalist Ruling Class and the Need for Socialist Ideals

3086 words - 13 pages How Does Priestley Present Mr Birling Priestley presents the character of Mr Birling as a symbol of the capitalist ruling class and the need for socialist ideals. Priestley begins by presenting Mr Birling as a successful, albeit 'hard-headed businessman'. It is clear from the stage directions which describe 'The dining room... of a fairly large suburban house, belonging to a prosperous manufacturer' that Birling is rich and materialistically

Inspector Calls

3172 words - 13 pages An Inspector Calls By J.B Priestley Analyse and discuss the technique the Inspector uses to elect an admission of guilty involvement in Eva Smith's tragedy from each member of the Birling family. Discuss the message of the play An Inspector Calls is set in 1912, two years before the outbreak of the First World War. It is a time shortly after the industrial revolution and much of the work is done in factories. This creates two classes of people

How JB Priestley Creates A Moral Message In An Inspector Calls

1246 words - 5 pages How JB Priestley Creates a Moral Message in An Inspector Calls This play is much like a detective story as it includes a great number of 'ingredients' that a detective story would have, such as the fact there is a detective in the play,Inspector Goole.There is a victim, Eva Smith or Daisy Renton. There are many suspects. Money and relationships are also included in the play, especially

What Methods Does Priestley Use to Present Selfishness=====

924 words - 4 pages The theme of selfishness is central to An Inspector Calls. Priestley questions the morality of the Birling and Croft family and points out behaviours that are selfish. He also points to the wider selfishness of a society that is driven by profit and with no structured welfare system to support vulnerable people. This is an expose of life in Edwardian Britain that would have made a 1945 audience question what sort of society they wanted to

An Inspector Calls

3295 words - 14 pages attitude inside her. Then, she finds out that Gerald had been having an affair with Eva/Daisy, this makes her think about the sort of people she lives with and loves. She becomes more mature as the play progresses and in the current National Theatre production she moves into the Inspector's light. This is symbolic of her moving from an enclosed life into the real world and her being enlightened by the truth of her part in Eva's death. When

Inspector Calls

1902 words - 8 pages Who is the inspector? The play “An inspector calls” written by J B Priestley. Inspector Goole is a very mystifying and baffling main character in the play. Who is he and what does he epitomize: is he Eva smith, the voice of the author, the character conscience, god, some one that can foretell the future or is he a ghost. The theme of this short play is that we all have responsibility for ourselves and also for others but also that within

An Inspector Calls Analysis

1498 words - 6 pages . Yet, although Birling and his wife are indeed middle-class, Priestley tells us in one of his stage directions (though it is never explicitly referred to in the play itself) that Sybil is “a rather cold woman and her husband’s social superior.” Birling is throughout the play ticked down by his wife: early in this act, for instance, for complimenting the servants on the meal in front of a guest. Sybil, presumably from a better social background

What Do We Learn from the Stage Directions at the Beginning of ‘an Inspector Calls’?

1791 words - 8 pages What do we learn from the stage directions at the beginning of ‘An Inspector Calls’? ‘An Inspector Calls’ was written during the Second World War by playwright and dramatist John Boynton Priestley, and focuses on social injustice in the early 20th century. The play is set in 1912, Edwardian England, just before the war, which was a very difficult time for England. It was a period when there were many strikes, food shortages and great

Book Review

1489 words - 6 pages water) is the major and defining component of most soft drinks. Priestley found that water treated in this manner had a pleasant taste, and he offered it to his friends as a refreshing drink. In 1772, Priestley published a paper entitled Impregnating Water with Fixed Air in which he describes dripping oil of vitriol (or sulfuric acid as it is now called) onto chalk to produce carbon dioxide gas, and encouraging the gas to dissolve into an

Differences and Similarities of the Characters of the Play " an Inspector Calls"

1945 words - 8 pages be acknowledged by the public such as being a part of a community and supporting one another. Priestley discusses on war and society suggesting, “We want a world that offers people not the dubious pleasures of power, but the maximum opportunities for creation”. When Priestly says “dubious pleasures of power” we begin to think of Mr Birling. All the power of a possible knighting and joining Gerald’s fathers company has gotten to his head. Although

Related Papers

An Inspector Calls By J.B. Priestley

1060 words - 5 pages An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley Introduction: The play was written in 1945, but the play was set in 1912, before the 2nd World War when people talked confidently of the future, unaware of the disasters to come. Part 1: Mr. Birling is very self-cantered, doesn't like to be proved wrong and he thinks low-class people are not as good as him. Mr. Birling is very competitive and if Sheila marries Gerald

Author's Message In An Inspector Calls By J.B. Priestley

1113 words - 5 pages Author's Message in An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley In this assignment I'm writing about the effect Inspector Goole has on the Birling's in the play 'An Inspector Calls' written by J. B. Priestley. Inspector Goole is a mystifying character he comes to the Birling's home without a notification, i.e. a phone call. He shows nothing to prove that he is an inspector, he just tells Edna his name, and we have no

The Character That Changes The Most In An Inspector Calls By J.B. Priestley

1523 words - 7 pages The Character that Changes the Most in An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley In the essay I will try to answer the question of, ‘Which character changes the most in An Inspector Calls?’ I will do this by; explaining the role played by the character in the play; showing how and why I think they change; focusing on the effect on the audience by the stage directions and settings; showing what messages Priestly manages to get

An Inspector Calls By J.B.Priestley Essay

1986 words - 8 pages An Inspector Calls by J.B.Priestley "Priestley's play is unusual in that a character, the Inspector, could be said to direct the action of the play." This is a comment made by a theatre critic about the play "An Inspector Calls", and the character, Inspector Goole. By studying the play, I find that I can justify myself in agreeing with the critic's statement; that the Inspector does direct and control the action of