An Inspector Calls was written by JB Priestley
An Inspector Calls was written by JB Priestley

An Inspector Calls was written by JB Priestley

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  • Pages: 4 (1885 words)
  • Published: October 18, 2017
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An Inspector Calls was written by JB Priestley and is set in 1912 but it was written in 1945.

The author uses historic knowledge to his advantage. At the beginning of the play, Birling gives a speech which is extremely ironic ‘I say there isn’t a chance of war. . . the Titanic- she sails next week- New York in five days- and every luxury- and unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable’ The subsequent outcomes relating to these issues are the complete opposite.

World War one is about to erupt and the Second World War was close to follow.Birling stresses that the boat is unsinkable but the audience are aware that this is untrue. This shows the audience, right from the beginning, that Birling is a very ironic character and that he thinks himself a powerful figure in his family. This scene is very important because it is where the characters find out that Inspector Goole is a fake. Their reaction to this information what they have really learnt through this incident and whether the characters have developed.

Mr and Mrs Birling seem relieved and overjoyed when they find out the truth and appear happy that their reputations are no longer at stake.Sheila and her brother Eric feel remorse for what they did to the girl and are disgusted in their parents for dismissing the situation so quickly. Gerald does not share his opinion as much as the other characters but he agrees with Birling several times. You can see a distinct generational difference between the characters and


this tension remains throughout the scene. I am going to start directing at the point where the characters are all sitting around the table.

Sheila is talking, so everyone is watching her. Eric slouches a little because he is feeling terrible and does not care about petty things like his posture.Mr and Mrs Birling are sitting bolt up right because they both feel they have not done anything wrong and are still aware of how others see them. When Mrs Birling exclaims ‘Don’t be childish Sheila.

‘ on page 59, she should direct it at Sheila, but glance at her husband to show that they share the same opinion and that they both think that their daughters’ last comment was absurd. Sheila’s reply should be said in a defensive manner and her fathers reaction is to tell her to leave the room if she talks like that. This shows that Birling thinks he is the most powerful figure in the room.At the beginning of the play, the other characters would have agreed, but now his children have lost all respect for him.

As director I would portray this by Eric saying his line in a sarcastic tone ‘That’ll be terrible for her, won’t it? ‘ and Sheila would say her line in a dismissive way. Sheila goes on to say that it does not matter who made each of them confess and then states what everyone did. When she talks about each character, the lights shine on them and they make a small gesture. Birling will sigh in an uninterested way because he does no

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think that he has done anything wrong.In act 1, Birling says ‘Still, I can’t accept any responsibility. ‘ Sheila should pause before she says what she did to the girl and then say it in an ashamed tone because she feels terrible for inflicting pain onto someone else’s life.

On page 23 she says how ‘rotten’ she is feeling. Eric is next and as Sheila mentions his name, he should reach for a wine glass but then put it back on the table so that the audience can see that he realises that alcohol is not the answer to his problems. The last character is Mrs Birling and she should just stare coldly at her daughter.On page 47 she clearly states that she will not accept any blame for the girls death. At the beginning of page 60 Sheila should speak slowly and thoughtfully when she says the line ‘we hardly ever told him anything he didn’t know. ‘ This is an important message for the audience because it adds extra mystery about Inspector Goole.

Birling next dismissively says ‘that’s nothing… ‘ he then goes on to blame his family for telling the inspector so much.

At this point he should go to the little table in the front corner of the stage which has a bottle of whiskey on it.While Sheila and Mrs Birling talk, Birling will pour himself a drink. His next line is ‘The fact is, you allowed yourself to be bluffed. ‘ After saying ‘the fact is,’ he will take a sip of his drink before finishing the rest of his sentence.

This will demonstrate that he is a little bit stressed. He then walks back to his seat. At the bottom of the page, Mrs Birling calls Eric and Sheila ‘children’ which now makes them feel patronised because they are behaving more maturely than their parents, which they can demonstrate by scowling. When the bell rings everyone should look at each other in alarm.Mrs Birling says that Edna will get the door, a door slams off stage before Gerald enters.

Sheila looks uncomfortable and fidgets. No one stands up to greet him and he takes off his own hat and gloves’ showing that he is part of the family. When Gerald says ‘I hope you don’t mind me coming back’ he looks at Sheila because after Gerald’s confession, page 40, Sheila handed back her engagement ring. Mrs Birling interrupts their gaze by sweetly saying ‘No, of course not Gerald. ‘ Birling stops his daughter when she starts to tell Gerald what happened after he left.He does not want Gerald to get a bad impression of his family because he wants their two family businesses to merge together.

‘… perhaps we may look forward to the time when Croft’s Limited and Birling and Company are no longer competing, but working together.

.. ‘ page 4. Gerald asks how the Inspector behaved and Mrs Birling tells him how rude he was to herself and her husband. However, she does not mention that he is rude to her children and the Inspector spoke to them in the same manner.

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