Dramatic Devices in An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley
This essay will show the way that the author, J.B Priestley, used
dramatic devices within 'An Inspector Calls' to convey his concerns
and ideas to the public. The essay also highlight and examine the
dramatic devices Priestley includes to interest and involve the
audience in his play.
The character of the inspector wanted to make it clear to the Birlings
that there was another harsh world outside their rich, comfortable and
secure way of living. The inspector tried to entice the Birlings into
realising that some people do not have the same opportunities as they
had known and needed a helping hand. The Inspector did his best to
place the Birlings into the shoes of some of the more disadvantaged
people. His goal in the play was to make them see and understand life
in the 'real' world.
Priestley's main concerns were with higher classed people and their
ignorance to the pleas of the poor. He didn't like the emotions of
women like Eva Smith being played around with by wealthier people. The
impression given throughout 'An Inspector Calls,' is that Priestley
seemed to believe in close communities and equal opportunities.
'An Inspector Calls,' was set in 1912, yet was written and first
performed in 1945.
The period of 1912 was when Priestley stated he gained much of his
experience. From this epoch he took in enough to perfect his writing
skills. We also know that the year 1912 is somehow significant because
Priestly draws upon a number of dramatic devices within his play
(these devices must be for this year because that is when the play is
set). They did not believe that war would break out and many believed
that the titanic was unsinkable. It was an era in which people were
blind towards the important events. People were happy to be living in
Priestley fought in the first world war, narrowly escaping death. In
1912 aristocratic society didn't believe in or truly understand the
hard-life. They were always relaxed and in control. From 1911-18 the
rich were doing nothing to help the country. They just watched whilst
people like Priestley risked their lives for their country. They made
other people do the hard work and Priestley having been through it,
wanted to broadcast to the public that life was unfair for even
slightly lower classed people.
Both 1912 and 1945 are related because 1912 was just before the first
world war and 1945 was when the second world war ended. Between the
two years was a time of conflict; when there wasn't war there was
tension. 1945 more or less spelt the end of it.
In direct relation to this, Priestley felt compelled to use a lot of
dramatic irony at the start of the play. The audience is influenced by
this because they were placed in a similar position as the characters.