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J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls Essay

1840 words - 7 pages

J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls

In the play 'An inspector calls' by JB priestly, there are a range of
dramatic devices used, you can see foreshadowing; where the characters
hint at things that you see or learn later. There are the entrances
and exit; the dramatic ways that these are used. Also the climatic
curtain is used, leaving the readers on a cliff hanger. And finally
dramatic irony and denouement are used. All these dramatic devices add
up to a brilliant play, about a family who are having a quite night
in, when they are disturbed at the dinner table, by a police inspector
directing an inquiry on a girl's suicide, and as the story unravels we
learn about each characters part to play.

This play contains some early foreshadowing from the three characters,
Eric, Gerald and Sheila. This is where there are little things that
hint at important information to come later in the play. We do not
however see any foreshadowing from Mr or Mrs Birling. Near the
beginning of the play we learn that Eric has a drinking problem when
it says, "ERIC suddenly guffaws" then Sheila says, "Now - what's the
joke" and Eric replies, "I don't know - really. Suddenly I felt I just
had to laugh." (page3) This shows that Eric was drunk at the time, and
hinted at him having a drinking problem, which later led to him having
a relationship with Eva Smith, which was mostly drink related. We also
see that Gerald may have been sneaking around with someone else when
Sheila says, "Yes - except for all last summer, when you never came
near me, and I wondered what had happened to you." To which Gerald
replied, "As I've told you - I was awfully busy at the works all that
time." (Page3) We later learn that he was having a relationship with
Daisy Renton, who is the same person as Eva Smith. Finally we learn
that Sheila has a bad temper when Eric says, "She's got a nasty temper
sometimes…" (Page5) This is a crucial point, as her temper plays an
important part later in the play.

Throughout the play the author, JB Priestly uses entrances and exits
to dramatically make characters enter or leave scenes. The first
entrance (page10) is the inspectors. My first impression of the
inspector when he first arrives in the book, is that of a very serious
and clever man, a man that takes his work very seriously, we see an
example of this when Mr. Birling says, "Have a glass of port - or a
little whiskey?" and the Inspector replies, "No, thank you, Mr.
Birling. I'm on duty." This shows that he abides by the rules or his
work. I think that the other characters where a little bit surprised
at the news of an inspector arriving, as one would be if an unexpected
inspector arrived. This is shown when Mr. Birling says, "An inspector?
What kind of inspector?"

Sheila makes the next dramatic move (page21), this time an exit, when
...

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