The Attitude Of The Culture At The Time Of "An Inspector Calls"

869 words - 3 pages

An Inspector Calls is a murder mystery book (play), written by J.B. Priestly, where little by little more is revealed, keeping the reader (viewer) hooked, as they want to find out more. During the book Priestly shows the attitudes and the way things were at the time, such as how there was cheap labour and how people were arrogant to things such as war ever happening. Throughout act 1, Priestly also strongly conveys his views of the time through the character of the inspector and his views becomes a central theme in the novel, this theme being responsibility and how there are consequences to all your actions, as any one of them can trigger a chain of events. One method the author uses to illustrate his concerns with these attitudes along with his views is through a plethora of dramatic devices, such as the setting of the book, as in 1912 - when the play was set, two years later the First World War occurred and in the text Mr Birling plays down the talk of any such thing ever happening. Moreover the play was released to the theatres in 1945 when the Second World War had just finished. This contributes to the irony, while also showing the arrogance of a typical person of those times and is done so all through the book.

In the novel the writer doesn’t only use dramatic devices to show his concerns and ideas he also uses them to create interest, tension and to involve his reader into the story. A prime example of this is the simple use of a doorbell, which from then on changes the mood of the entire play. The noise of the bell signals the soon entry of the inspector, while also cutting Mr Birling off in a speech to Eric and Gerald where he says how a man who looks after himself and his family wont come to much harm and how you should mind your own business and look after yourself. The doorbell cutting Mr Birlings speech of is ironic in its self as what he says in that speech is the very thing that didn’t occur - his family not coming to much harm.
Once again, from very early on, before the reader even acknowledges it J.B. Priestly uses more irony. Slipped into their regular conversation Sheila says (directed at Gerald): “Yes - except for all last summer, when you never came near me, and I wondered what had happened to you.” As the tale unravels you later find out this was due to an affair with the very woman who the inspector came to query about.
Probably the most blatant use of irony is how Mr Birling...

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