Discuss the role of the Inspector as a dramatic function in the play “An Inspector Calls”.
“An Inspector Calls” is a play written in 1945 but set in 1912 and written by J.B Priestley. Throughout the play the Inspector’s views teach us about responsibility, he also teaches the Birling family through the character of the Inspector Goole. The Birling family learn that if we don’t take responsibility for our actions we will end up in war. Through setting the play in 1912, the audience see an example of what we were like before the war and why it was caused. The audience will know what it was like as, they would have just lived through war, they will realise that the society has to change and not just one person. Priestly uses the characters to express his feelings about society and tries to put across the point that if we don’t change there will be “blood and anguish”.
As the Inspector enters the stage “The lighting should be pink and intimate until the Inspector arrives then it should be brighter and harder”. This stage direction is an example of a dramatic device; it suggests that the Inspector is important; it also makes the atmosphere tense, causing the audience focus on the Inspector. However, it could also suggest that the Birling family have nothing to hide, from the Inspector. Throughout the play the Inspector uses many dramatic devises, such as the doorbell, this happens when the Birling family are at home celebrating Shelia and Gerald’s engagement. Mr Birling was having a talk with Eric and Gerald and telling them about responsibilities. “That a man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own – and –” the doorbell rings interrupting Mr.Birling. The doorbell ringing draws the attention to the door and so Mr.Birling isn’t the centre of attention anymore, which could leave him a bit angry, as he likes to be the centre of attention. It could also suggest that someone important (a lot higher than Mr Birling) is about to enter, this could leave Mr Birling a bit annoyed as he likes to believe that he is the most important one.
When the Inspector enters the Birlings house he starts straight away with Mr Biring asking him about Eva Smith, this shows that the Inspector is down to earth. Through questioning Mr Birling the Inspector shows that Mr Birling doesn’t even know who works at his factory “do you remember her Mr Birling”/ “No” this further shows that he doesn’t think of his employees as people. Through the Inspector questioning Mr Birling we also see how the higher class think of the lower class, Mr Birling seems to think they are nameless and not important. Priestly shows how he feels about this through Shelia as she points out “these girls aren’t cheap labour – they are people” this also shows that Shelia is more caring than her father.
J.B Priestly uses the characters to express his own views about society and his own feelings. J.B Priestly makes the audience judge Mr Birling and believe he is wrong through...