Stage directions also make the play more dramatic when you are reading the play because it gives you an image in your head and it gives you much more of an understanding. For example, ‘Eric (uneasily)’ is a lot more effective than it would be if it was just ‘Eric’. A small, but effective device that Priestley uses is the way in which the inspector interviews the Birling family one at a time. The inspector does this in a slow and steady manner and he often states that he is in no rush to interview all of the family.
On page 33 when Arthur Birling suggests that the inspector interviews Eric next as he was tired, and the inspector replied with: ‘I’m sorry, but he’ll have to wait’. He also interviewed the Birlings one at a time and he did it in a chain so that all of the interviews would link up with one another. I think that this made it very clear and at the same time built up an amount of tension. J. B. Priestley added in a bit of dramatic irony into the play and I think that it got the people drawn into it a lot more.
A good example of this is on page 7 when Arthur Birling made one of his speeches and refers to the titanic as being ‘completely unsinkable’. This creates a lot of dramatic irony because as the audience, you know that in face the titanic did sink. So, you can then sit there and listen to this with a smug feeling because you know that you have one over on him. I think that Priestley used this as a great way in getting people to feel involved.
I think that all of the devices that Priestley has used have been very effective and although some of the devices may not seem to be such a big thing do actually make a difference, and it is small aspects of the play like the devices that he uses that makes it so appealing still today as well as the 1900’s. As well as the play being very entertaining and cleverly written, I think that J. B. Priestley has written it so that we can learn a lot from it. There are a lot of issues that are mentioned In the play that we come across in our every day lives.
And, although we may see the speeches from the characters in the play as entertainment, there is a lot of knowledge and purpose behind it. For example, womans rights. In the play it seems that Eva Smith does not have any rights as a woman, and I think that women are regarded as being not very important. An example of this is when Arthur and Gerald told the ladies in the house to leave the room while they spoke about business etc. I feel that woman at that time were not very well respected and it was In fact around the time that women might have been considered to have the vote.
As a play writer, I feel that J. B. Priestley wanted his readers to learn something from the play about the time and the issues. I think that in the play there is a conflict between the generations in the Birling family. I think that when the evening has ended, Eric and Sheila learn a lot from what happened and discover things about the family that they may not have noticed before. I think that they all learn something from what the inspector had to say. But I think that Sheila and Eric went about the whole enquiry better than their parents.
This shows at the end of the first phone call when Mr. Birling tells everyone that there was in fact no body to have been reported to the infirmary and both Sybil and Arthur act as if nothing had happened. Sheila and Eric however, took a different approach and said to their parents not to start celebrating yet, and that they should take into account about all that the inspector said. J. B. Priestley very affectively used cliffhangers throughout the whole play.
As the audience, you think that you can fit everything together like a jigsaw, and then something completely different will happen and you see that your theory was wrong. The biggest shock of all though, is when The Birlings think that everything will be fine, and Arthur Birling will get his knighthood, when ‘WHAM’, the second phone call arrives reporting that a body had been reported. Personally, when I read this I did not see it coming and it was a typical cliffhanger ending because it finishes and you do not know what happened next.
The clever way in which Priestley did this made the whole play more effective I think that the reason J. B. Priestley wrote this play is so that he could get his opinion across, and he very thoughtfully did so through a play. I think the issues that he brought up during the play were that society must change, and that we are all responsible for each other. This shows in Mr Birling’s speech at the beginning of the play. J. B. Priestley was in fact a socialist, and so I think that his opinions came across through the inspector.
This is because the inspector was always pointing out how we should be responsible for ourselves and for each other and that no one should be treated differently because of their class or wealth. Also, it seems that he thinks that young people should have their right to speak up for what they believe or what they think . He did this through Sheila, when in the play she says that what she has to say matters as well. I think that J. B. Priestley is a man that has a lot of opinions and I think that he has used inspector calls to get his points across.
He was a socialist so he believes that everyone should be treated fairly. I think that he uses the Birling family as a prime example, and at the end when the phone calls comes back to the Birlings that a girls body has been reported, I think as a reader you see that Priestley is using the story as an example. I think he clearly gets across how you should not prejudice someone because they are not the same class or wealth as you. A quote from the play that the inspector uses I think is what J. B. Priestley is trying to get across and that is: ‘We are members of one body, we are responsible for each other! ‘