Comment on the Dramatic Effectiveness of the Inspector
Comment on the Dramatic Effectiveness of the Inspector

Comment on the Dramatic Effectiveness of the Inspector

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  • Pages: 3 (1271 words)
  • Published: October 13, 2017
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In this essay I intend to show, and provide sufficient evidence, as to the vast amount of dramatic tension the Inspector seems to create and his role in the dramatic effectiveness of the play ‘An Inspector Calls’. J. B. Priestley wrote ‘An Inspector Calls’ in 1945, after both world wars and the sinking of the Titanic on her maiden voyage.

The play, however, is set many years earlier in 1910, Birling however, uses the ‘stability’ of Britain and Europe and later mans success in building an unsinkable ship as evidence to his son Eric and daughters fiance Gerald during his speech on why man will always succeed.The audience, however, know that only 33 years ago the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage and that the 2nd war was only just over. This brings a great deal of irony and tension into the atmosphere. Throughout the script Priestly uses a variety of techniques, to emphasise the inspector’s presence and influence on the characters and the atmosphere for each scene. The inspector enters half way through scene one; his presence, however, is felt immediately through the tension he seems to create.As the Inspector walks onto set a lighting change from a soft, warm lamp to a harsh penetrating light would be successful in changing the mood and atmosphere.

The Inspector enters during Birlings speech to Eric and Gerald about the importance of looking as oneself, as, later in the script Birling starts to be seen by the Inspector and the audience as self-centred and arrogant, I feel as though this is quite a significant p

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art during the play.The inspectors relationship with the Birlings gets of to a rather bad start as Birling is very cold towards the inspector, and try’s to belittle him by saying ‘I don’t suppose you did (play golf)’, at that time golf was a very expensive luxury, the inspector ‘does not take offence’ and with the tension still in the air continues with the inquiry in a inquisitive and sometimes sarcastic manner and angers both Birling and, later in the script, Mrs. Birling.The Inspector can be seen throughout the play as having a tendency to be very sarcastic in his manner and tone of voice, I believe Mr and Mrs Birling are offended simply because they are not used to being treat like that. He does however make a big impression on Shelia and gains her respect and trust and later Gerald and Eric’s, I believe this to be a clever symbolism of the ‘next generation’ making the difference. This does however cause even more tension as tempers rise and everyone has different views on the inspector.

The tension, I think, reaches a climax at the very end of scene two where Eric walks in just after they’ve uncovered his deception and Lies, it is cleverly written with a interval leaving a ‘cliff-hanger’ and keeping the audience’s full attention. One of the most successful techniques is in Priestley’s ability to change the tone and language used by the inspector according to the atmosphere and mood on stage. For example, during Shelia’s confession the Inspector is kind almost gentle an

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yet during Mrs Birlings questioning the Inspector is sarcastic and almost rude.I don’t believe this could be that the manner in which the Inspector treats the individuals has anything to do which the sex, for my examples I have used two females. I think Priestley’s main intensions were to bring to light some of the controversial topics at that time, such as sexism, the inequality of social classes and the ‘cheap labour’ issue.

Priestley use’s the inspector to do this and is very successful in doing so in a non-offensive yet slightly ungraceful manner.Priestley uses the Inspector to make very clear, what he thinks of businessmen and their shallow, pampered wives. I think that some of the success and the amount of dramatic tension are due to the ability of the actor playing the inspector and the ability of the actors supporting him in other roles. Timing, tone, mood and atmosphere will all help create a concentrated tension and a ‘first class’ show.

The inspector shocks the audience with a sharp contrast when he says with real purpose ‘I’m losing all patience with you people. What did she say? this line compares the cool calm and collected man we have seen throughout the play with a strained, hot tempered individual. This takes the other characters by surprise, and Mrs. Birling responds to the inspector’s questioning much more effectively. Mr Birling also seems to appreciate the inspector more after the outburst.The inspector makes numerous speeches; the most prominent is, I believe, near the end of scene one where the inspector comments on the unfair treatment of women of lower classes who were being used as cheap labour; There are a lot of young women living that existence in every city and big town in this country, Miss Birling.

If there weren’t, the factories wouldn’t know where to look for cheap labour. Ask your father. ‘ Shelia seems to agree with him and Eric likewise: this is before their questioning which shows the audience that they are not as arrogant as their parents or even Gerald and again points back to symbolic theme of the ‘next generation. ‘Throughout the play the inspector keeps reminding them to stay calm and focused and when the family do begin to argue the inspector steps in and stops them. This I think, shows the audience the inspector is in complete control and that the other characters respect and slightly fear him.

The language used by the inspector is perhaps less than would be expected in this type of company; his tone and manner being somewhat controversial ‘don’t stammer and yammer at me again, man. ‘This arrogance to a wealthy, upper class man was quite unheard of in that era and Mrs Birling wastes no time in pointing this out although she treat Eva Smith worse still, after all he refused a rise in wages purely to keep the labour costs down and then with out giving a second thought sacked Eva. The character of the inspector develops as you journey further into the play: his intensions shift slightly from the position of wanting the Birlings to

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