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Act one of An Inspector calls

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The play ‘An inspector calls’ is set in 1912 but was written and performed in 1945. This was done to show the people of 1912 that life was more important than such things as pride and money. J B Priestley writes that the older generation just cared about themselves and let other people get on with what they wanted. He then talks about the newer generation and how they are more caring about other people. Priestley also explains how we are responsible for out own actions and the consequence that come out of it. This makes us think how we can apply this to our own lives and help us change as people.

J B Priestley uses a variety of dramatic devices to influence and gain the attention of the audience; one of these devices is dramatic irony. He uses this device very well, for example he talks about how technology has got to its greatest and how it can’t get any better. He talks about the Titanic and how it’s Britain’s greatest invention and is unsinkable. This is ironic to the audience as at the time they are performing these events have already happened, and they know for example that the titanic did sink.

He also talks about things such as war; he says that war will never happen and that we have no threat from the Germans. This is ironic to the audience as war has already happened by this time. This also happens with such things as the mine strike and continues within the play. Another dramatic device Priestley uses is the lighting at the start of the play. The lights are pink and have a calm and intimate mood. When the Inspector arrives the lighting dramatically changes as it turns brighter and harder. I think the use of the lighting shows the personality of the Inspector.

I believe it shows that the Inspector is a tough character, and he will not take any nonsense. When the doorbell rings it has a sharp ring. I think he does this as it also shows how serious and important the Inspector will be. By writing ‘a sharp ring’ this is also onomatopoeia, this is when a word is used to describe a sound and can often make it overdramatic to make the audience jump, this makes things a lot more dramatic for the audience. The idea of the ring being sharp ring makes me think it was also quite loud which would grab the attention of the audience and makes them look towards the door.

When the Inspector arrives Birling is quite friendly and tells the Inspector to sit down. When the Inspector then says he is enquiring about Eva Smith Birling starts to get quite restless. He denies that he knows Eva Smith when I think that he really does. When the Inspector shows him the photo and says that Eva Smith used to work at his factory, Birling has to admit that he knows her. Gerald and Eric get quite annoyed when the Inspector does not show them the photo. I think this may be because the Inspector wants to show them a different photo later.

Birling says that he discharged Eva from the factory. Then Eric says ‘is that why she committed suicide? ‘ this gets to Birling and makes him realise it may be his fault, but he is quick to fight back and tell Eric to be quite. At this point you can tell that Birling is starting to get nervous at the thought that it could be his fault. Already the inspector is starting to get to the family. In conclusion I think the message that Priestley is trying to get over to the readers is that life is more important than money and that is what the inspector was trying to get Birling to see in the play.

I realised this by reading the book so I am sure that many other did aswell. He is also trying to get across that just because you have more money it does not make you a higher class than any one else, we are all equal. In the play I think this got across to the younger characters of Gerald and Sheila but I think he failed to get it across to Mr Birling as he was just glad he was off the hook and not going to get caught. Overall I think the play achieved what it was trying to do.

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