How Issues In The Play
How Issues In The Play

How Issues In The Play

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  • Pages: 4 (1895 words)
  • Published: October 12, 2017
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‘An Inspector Calls’ is a play written by J. B. Priestley. It is set in 1912 but written in 1945. The play is written in the style or genre of a detective mystery play. It starts with a death that they believe to be a suicide, and the plot of the play is used to investigate the death of Eva Smith.

As the involvement of each of the members of the family is progressively established, the structure of the play becomes a typical trait of detective mystery as a ‘whodunit’ with the Inspector slowly unravelling the life of Eva Smith using each of the family members.Each member of the Birling family has had some connection and involvement with Eva Smith and has unknowingly, until their stories end and a new one starts, contributed to her eventual death. The audience is kept in suspense about who drove Eva Smith to her death as all the characters have had some association with her. Priestley uses climax at the end of each act to hold the audience in suspense but to also hold the audiences interest by the progressive revelations by their desire to find out who was ultimately responsible for driving Eva to commit suicide.With the carefully controlled plot he ensures the audience is left on tenterhooks throughout the play.

The character of the inspector is very important, as he is the main character to not only use dramatic devices to highlight the social issues, but he is also the main one that controls the suspense and mystery to the story. He is introduced at the beginning of the play in the role of a typical detective investigating a

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death. His entrance was an important part to the play as it shows what an impression the inspector creates, ‘creates an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness’.The entrance is of great timing as the inspector appears just after Mr. Birling’s speech. His comments, ‘a man has to make his own way’, ‘community and all that nonsense’ are the type of anti-socialistic ones made of a wealthy status man, like himself.

His discrimination between social classes highlights his importance he feels he has over poorer people. Just the type of views that J. B. Priestley disagreed with. This dramatic irony is revealed as soon as the inspector appears and already he makes an impression with the audience before he even starts to talks with the Birlings.The inspector appears in the usual attire that an inspector would wear ‘plainish dark suit’.

His inspector mode is there and shows his seriousness for the investigation when he turns down the drink ‘no thank you Mr. Birling, I’m on duty’. He instantly appoints an importance to the room where the Birlings are. For example, their festivities are interrupted; for he came with morbid news, quite a contrast to their celebrations and they instantaneously would like to know why, especially Mr. Birling ‘well, what is it then? ‘ after he offers his kind hospitality (offerings of whisky and port) in return for some answers!Mr.

Birling obviously threatened, throws his weight around tries to establish his status, but the inspecto

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disregards his arrogance and authoritiveness. The inspector gains a lot of his evidence through the way he questions and got round the Birlings. He had a habit of staring at the person he was addressing and maintaining eye contact throughout. He gets straight to the point of why he is there by shocking them and the audience by going into gory details. He says he comes with the news that a girl had committed suicide by swallowing some disinfectant ‘burnt her insides out’.

He then goes into detail of that even though they did everything for her she was in great agony. When his questioning starts he establishes his rule of only answering one question at a time, ‘one person and one line of enquiry at a time’. He questions each character individually and systematically. He asks simple and straight questions; ‘why? ‘ ‘when? ‘ ‘how? ‘, and also very leading questions to try and trick them into saying something ‘don’t you Mr.

Birling? ‘. Each character confesses their involvement in the ‘crime’ or death of Eva Smith.In addition to the role of a detective investigating a death, the inspector also makes comments and judgements about each characters part in Eva Smiths life. He also comments on the social issues of the time. With the amount of information the inspector knew before he was told anything by the Birlings, arouses suspicion in Sheila and she is aware that he may know more than that of what an inspector might, and that he may not be an inspector. When arguments break out the inspector steps back and leaves them to work out their personal differences ‘its about time you learnt to face a few responsibilities’ and doesn’t get involved.

He also lets them work out the answers themselves ‘mother don’t you see, but surely… I mean.

.. its ridiculous. ‘ which results in more family breakouts especially when they don’t want to tell the inspector anything that might incriminate themselves ‘well, we don’t need to tell the inspector all about that, do we? ‘ The inspector knows more about the Birlings family secrets than they do themselves and the great details he knows of Eva Smith heightens the great mystery that surrounds him. He knows of how her name changed, ‘she used more than one name’.

He also knows that she worked for the Birlings and the reasons when and why Mr. Birling sacked her, ‘wanted the rates raised’. He also knows of Gerald’s affair, Sheila’s the cause of having Eva sacked, Eric getting her pregnant and Mrs. Birlings harshness when Eva came to her for help. He knows that everyone in that room had something to do with Eva Smith. How he knows it, we as the audience and the family themselves assume because he is an inspector and that he researches his cases, but that is then cast aside and questioned when we find out he’s not a real inspector.

He does not actually need to question them very thoroughly as they reveal their involvement with Eva Smith quite readily. They don’t actually tell him anything he doesn’t already know but he still prompts

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