Explore the dramatic techniques used by J. B. Priestley in act 3 of “an inspector calls” to convey his concerns and ideas to the audience, as well as interest and involve them in his play. What does this reveal about the Birling family and their society. The play was written in 1912, which was also a year of high moral in Britain. The British people had a general feeling of optimism, they thought that technology would never stop advancing and that war would never occur. There was a huge difference in social classes and women were seen as inferior to men. By 1945 when the play was first performed the moral was much lower.
There had just been two World Wars that had affected Britain quite severely. British citizens’ lifestyles had completely changed: Class distinctions had been greatly reduced and women had earned a more valued place in society. In this play the Inspector is there to show the Birlings that treating other people badly, no matter what class, was not the correct way to live. He thinks that the class system in Britain is wrong and that everybody should be treated equally by everyone else. This play is set out so that the Birling family represent the audience; it relates to things that we, the readers, have done ourselves.
The play is trying to teach us that it is morally wrong to treat people the way in which the Birlings treated Eva Smith. This play is really a morality play, but is written in the genre of a detective play. The detective/inspector plays on the morals of the Birling family and also the audience of the play. It is designed to make us think about the way we live and the way that we treat other people. In the opening scene of the play the Birling family are holding a diner party to celebrate the engagement of Sheila Birling and Gerald Croft. This marriage will see two great business rivals come together.
Even though they all wish it to be perfect, there are signs that it is not; as Mr Birling is far too keen to impress Gerald, Eric is always on the edge, and Sheila makes playful remarks about the unexplained absence of her future husband last summer. But even so there is a happy, joyful atmosphere at the table. As the men drink their port and the ladies leave to attend to something else, Mr. Birling has a ‘man to man’ chat with his son and soon to be son-in-law. “… is that a man has to make his own way- has to look after himself- and his family too, of course, when he has one- and so long as he does that he wont come to much harm.
” He goes on to tell them that a man needs not to worry about the wider community and the other less fortunate people around. As this is being told the door bell rings. An impressive, very serious man who none of the family know introduces himself as Inspector Goole. The inspector announces that he is there to investigate the suicide of a young lady who went by the name of Eva Smith. He shows a photograph to Mr. Birling he admits that she once worked as an employee in his factory. Eva Smith was fired when she was found to be one of the main characters demanding higher wages.
Birling leaps straight to his own defense claiming that he paid his workers that usual rate and that he could not possibly be held responsible for what happened to her afterwards. When Sheila is shown the photograph of the young lady she is deeply affected and leads on to tell the inspector that she was the reason that Eva was fired from her job at Milwards, she had forced the manager to sack her because she had caught her smirking at her. Sheila feels terribly guilty about what she has done and even feels responsible for Eva’s death.
When the inspector states that Eva then changed her name to Daisy Renton, Gerald’s reactions give away that he too knew this young lady. He had met her at bar known to be the gathering place of prostitutes. When he found out that Daisy had no money to her name, he let her stay in the flat of a friend and how she became his mistress. He ended the affair when he had to go away on business, giving her some money to see her through for a few months. Sheila is glad to have found this out, but Mrs. Birling is appalled. Gerald leaves claiming that he must go and think about Daisy’s death.
Mrs. Birling is then shown a picture of the girl, from which she admits to having seen the girl a few weeks ago. Daisy had come to her charity pregnant to ask for financial assistance. Mrs. Birling persuaded the committee to turn Daisy. Mrs. Birling is proud of refusing the girl aid. She claims that she did her duty and sees no reason at all why she should take any blame for the girl’s death. It is at the end of the scene when Mrs. Birling denounces the father of the child and claims he needs to be made an example of, Sheila realize that Eric is involved. When Eric enters the act ends.
The inspector deals with the family in chronological order but leaves Eric until last because he believes that Eric’s deed to be the worst. He is the reason that Daisy is pregnant and could be the main factor leading to her suicide. The inspector knows that Eric is the man who made Eva pregnant, and so leaves him until after Mrs. Birling has told them her story: in which she turns Daisy down because she claimed that the father of her child was a Birling. This also helps the family to lay more blame of Eric, as if making him the scapegoat. This causes a huge rift in the family, breaking them up into two different points of views.
To start with Eric tells us how He had met her in the same theatre bar as Gerald, had got drunk and had accompanied her back to her lodgings. He almost turned violent when she didn’t let him in, so she relented and they made love. When he met her two weeks later they slept together again and soon afterwards she discovered that she was pregnant. She did not want to marry Eric because she knew he didn’t love her, but she did accept gifts of money from him until she realized it was stolen. Eric admits that he had taken about i?? 50 from Mr. Birling’s office.