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How successful is the character of the inspector (Goole) in conveying prestleys message?
The plays An Inspector Calls carry a strong political message. The playwright, Priestley, uses tension in order to carry this political message throughout the play. He uses them appropriately for the time in which he is writing the play and for the time in which the play is set. The play is set in 1912, just before the war. This was a very difficult time for England. It was a time when there were many strikes, food shortages and great political tension when it was hard to find a well paid wage by only finding jobs with cheap labour. The play was written and published later on in 1945, just after World War II,
Prestily shows the audience by using this strong character that in the early years of 1912 they used a very unfair how the system worked by their classes between the upper and lower classes very strongly throughout the play. He uses the Birling family as a important people as the Upper Class and Eva Smith as one of the workers Lower Class. Priestley shows how in 1912, Upper Class citizens, such as the Birlings had no respect for Lower Class citizens. He uses this class divide to carry his message and to show that the rights which everyone should of be treated the same just because they are from a wealthy family doesn’t mean they have to as successful as them, and lower class getting treated badly who work harder than them.
At the beginning of the play he shows them strongly as a dramatic device, in that he uses them to show how the Birling family are cold-hearted, distant people and how money and wealth has destroyed them as a family. He shows how the family are very well off, by saying “dessert plates” and “champagne glasses” as well as other expensive items. However, there is also distance between the family members as he writes that “men are in tails and white ties” and that it is “not cosy and homelike”. He also describes the characters between Mr and Mrs Birling by sitting them at opposite ends of the table.
Priestley also uses the lighting first used and described as “pink and intimate” showing a ‘warm’ and ‘joyful’ atmosphere. However the audience understands that it is just a screen covering up secrets and that they are in fact looking through ‘rose-tinted glasses’ and that it is not really what it seems. This is confirmed when the Inspector appears and the lighting changes to a “brighter and harder light” where it gives the impression of guiltiness and the truth when atmosphere from joy from engagement to worried conscious in what happened .
The character of the Inspector has also been used as a dramatic device. He makes it seem as if socialism is the true and honest way to live. The Inspector uses imagery in order to shock the Birlings into giving him information, “she’d swallowed a lot of strong disinfectant. Burnt her inside out of course”. In this speech he shows that for lower class, “Eva Smiths and John Smiths” there is a “chance of happiness” in socialism. The Inspector also makes the audience realise that they are “members of one body” and that they should try their best to help people like Eva Smith, otherwise, as the Inspector shows, “they will be taught in fire and blood and anguish”.
The character inspector goole sounds like “ghoul” which indicates that the character is evil , and he grows on the family members until each and everyone one of them breaks down in a cleverly strong minded way by selecting the most vulnerable people to believe that the woman has died and blaming it on them because they were the last one to talk to her before her death making each character guilty on how they treated her when she was alive.
Throughout the play, tension is always building up both between the Inspector and the Birlings as well as within the Birling family. An example of this is when Sheila asks about where Gerald was “last summer” and Gerald tries to cover it up. This shows how the underlying secrets within the family create lots of tension. Another example of this is when Arthur Birling tells Gerald about his possible Knighthood, then refuses to tell Eric about it when he enters. Priestley also uses repetition in order to build up tension, even before the Inspector arrives Mr Birling keeps hinting that they might have done something wrong, he stresses “so long as we behave ourselves”. Priestley also uses uneasy laughter and blaming between members of the Birling family, such as “unless Eric has done something”, in order to build up tension. Priestley uses tension as a dramatic device in order to keep the audience interested and anxious to find out more, and so alert to his socialist message.
Such as at the end of the play, when Birling answers the phone to find out that a second Inspector is on his way and that what they thought was just a trick was actually true. Ending the play by using suspense makes the audience want to watch more and find out what happens next. It also keeps them thinking about the play and it’s meaning afterwards. The Inspector then enters and simply says “Well?” this gets the audience attention , as they want to find out what happens next in the play, keeping them on the edge of their seats. Act Two then begins, exactly the same as Act One ended.
The message is represented would show that An Inspector Calls, as well as being a murder mystery, in the way that Preistley uncovers the story of the death of Eva Smith . Priestley shows the audience how not to live their lives, he makes the audience think over the fact that they are actually “members of one body” and that they are all “responsible for one another” and has made them realise that socialism is the way forward instead of capitalism. In this way, An Inspector Calls is very helpful for today’s society where people still do need to work together and help others in need. Priestley shows his political views, on the different classes of wealth which he thought in his opinion was not fair.
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