What Dramatic Devices Were Used in the Inspector Calls

A little help with Analyse of The Inspector Calls by J. B Priestly. Detailed explanations of Dramatic devises used, backing quotes in an essay format. Within the play An Inspector Calls J. B Priestly uses numerous dramatic devises to get across his message of moral, class and political influence. In this essay I am going to explore and illustrate some key and subtle points in act one and further, of these themes of which Priestly works towards to influence the audience and finds himself involved in. The first hints of his central themes are imposed when J. B describes the scene and setting of the first act.
An immediate perception is given off towards the audience of ‘heavily comfortable house. ’ With this being a place of constant setting, a reflection of real time and naturalism is released. The lighting prescribed for the scene also creates the mood of the play. Priestly states within his stage directions the lighting should be ‘pink and intimate’ prior to the inspector arrives a shaded glow of rose tint then should grow ‘brighter and harder’. In context and example of these stage directions are as pursued. ‘The dining room of a fairly large suburban house, belonging to a prosperous manufacturer.
It has good solid furniture of the period. At the moment they have all had a good dinner, are celebrating a special occasion, and are pleased with themselves. ’ Subtly is added to the atmosphere presented to the audience when the notion of not all is as it seems is suggested. Initially the ambience obtained appears slightly forced. This is exemplified trough the mannerism of Eric’s nervousness, Shelia’s unknowing curiosity of Gerald’s whereabouts the previous summer and the reasons behind Gerald’s parents, Lord and Lady Croft, for not attending the engagement dinner.

The spectators of the play may be stimulated due to the use of this dramatic devise, of the unknowing, indefinite being implied on what should be a comfortable scene, this works because of natural human curiosity searching for something deeper amongst the characters and setting. Another devise used to enhance the play writer’s dramatic concepts is the use of dramatic irony and tone. These are used when the knowledge of the audience exceeds those of the characters within the play. This technique of dramatic irony is in attendance when Mr Birling makes self-assured conjectures about the coming war and the ship Titanic being unsinkable.
For example J. B Priestley uses techniques to expose Birling’s naivety and generation gap, for example Birling’s speech, ‘Why a friend of mine went over this new liner last week – the Titanic – she sails next week – forty six thousand eight hundred tons – New York in five days – and every luxury – and unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable. That’s what you have got to keep your eye on, facts like that, progress like that –and not a few German officers talking nonsense and a few scaremongers here making a fuss about nothing. Now you three young people just listen to this – and remember what I am telling you now.
In twenty or thirty years’ time – let’s say in 1940 – you may be giving a little party like this – your son or daughter may be getting engaged – and I tell, by that time you’ll be living in a world that’ll have forgotten all these Capital versus Labour agitations and all these silly little war scares. There’ll be peace and prosperity and rapid progress everywhere – accept of course in Russia, which will always be behindhand naturally. ’ This tactic makes the spectators of the play feel involved with the play due to their knowledgeable, advantaged background.
Tension is also secured throughout the play as each character holds significant connection with the suicide victim, Eva Smith, who represents the universal populace. By making Eva a representation rather than a real character the moral of the play is taken more literally. The contribution from each character also produces a deeper and more involved structure towards the play’s plot. The Inspector, the true voice/mouth piece of Priestly adds a dramatic tone. The character is directed with the use of pace and tension and presents each idea and enquiry without conjunction, by observing and exposing each statement from an individual’s account.
This method slowly throws light on the core of Eva’s life and the real effect of classes on a wider population. Another devise used by the inspector is an aura of menacing, ominous gloom, with is brought on with the added value of his ability to manipulate and influence the rest of the people in conjunction with his line of enquiries, due to his dominance. This is presented at the end of Act one and further on during the play and an example of this is ‘That’s what I asked myself tonight when I was looking at that dead girl.
And then I said to myself “Well, we’ll try to understand why it had to happen? ” And that’s why I’m here, and that’s why I’m not going until I know all that happened. Eva Smith lost her job with Birling and Company because the strike failed and they were determined not to have another one. At least she found another job- under what name I don’t know- in a big shop, and had to leave there because you were annoyed with yourself and passed the annoyance on to her. Now she had to try something else. So first she changed her name to Daisy Renton-‘
The final devises of great importance are tension and timing. Within the performance copious alterations in tone are witnesses. A key example of this is the attitude and confidence of Mr Birling showing amendment and supplanted actions, initially with self-justification endeavouring to elucidate his function in the bereavement of Eva/ (the citizens of the world in the class struggle). ‘, and as it happened more than eighteen months ago- nearly two years ago- obviously it has nothing whatever to do with the wretched girl’s suicide. Anxiety is then portrayed by Mr Birling ‘Oh well-put like that, there’s something in what you say. Still, I can’t accept and responsibility. If we were all responsible for everything that happened to everybody we’d had anything to do with, it would be very awkward, wouldn’t it? ’ Timing which features is a critical decisive; with stage directions of speech, movement exits, entrances and sounds. A strategic illustration of this is the arrival of the Inspector instantaneously, subsequent to Mr Birling notifying Gerald about his imminent knighthood and regards of how ‘a man has to look after himself and his own. In conclusion many devises are used throughout act one, some overlapping and although some are subtle, each technique holds great presence and importance within the play to convey J. B Priestley’s ideology of class struggle. Citizenship values are portrayed and the dependence each person shares to one another come through. This is voiced through the inspector as Priestley’s own mouth piece and with Eva as example of consequence from such actions.

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