Priestley introduces the characters by stage directions, the cast in the play is Arthur Birling thinks a lot of himself he’s bigheaded, really cocky, thinks he’s clever and is a business man. Eric plays the character that is half shy and half assertive; he asks a lot of questions and rapidly defends himself. Sybil Birling is superior, bossy, rude and also ignorant, she finds herself better than her husband. Gerald Croft is the man who Sheila is going to get engaged to, he always agrees with Arthur Birling and shows a lot of respect to him. Edna is the Birling’s maid and appears sparingly in the play.
She is used as a device to illustrate the Birlings’ attitude to the lower classes and announces the Inspector’s arrival. Inspector Goole plays the part of investigating the suicide of a girl called Eva smith. The inspector wants to show the Berling’s that their actions have consequences, no matter how they are in society. Priestley’s main concerns are that class shouldn’t exist, everyone should be treated equally and not to be selfish. An Inspector Calls is also a morality play as it does teach the audience a lesson and has a meaning behind it.
1912 is a key date to this play because this was when the titanic sinks, which kills 1. 500 people. Mr Birling Proclaims the titanic is ‘Unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable’ This shows a use of dramatic irony as we know the titanic sinks the same year. In Act One, Priestley sets the scene by describing whats in the dining room. Priestley delibratly uses the dining room as a setting because its small and comfortable for an family celebration, celebrating the engagment of sheila and gerald. The room later bulids tension when Inspector Goole arrives because its cramped and bulids a calastraphobic ambience.
The lighting has an huge impact on the room, before the inspector arrives ‘The lighting should be pink and intimate’ the colour pink represents happiness and cosiness which Reflects on the happy celebration and atmosphere. When the Inspector first knocks on the front door, it is dramatic irony because Arthur just said a matter of seconds before of how he ‘might get a knighthood if we don’t get into any sort of trouble’. This is a very significant time of entering because everything links to one another and rises the tension as Arthurs words come true.
The Birling’s smug satisfaction is put on hold because the door noise grabs attention and changes the atmosphere to ‘ brighter and harder. ‘ Edna comes into the Dining room and says to Mr. Birling, “Please, Sir, an Inspector’s called”. Inspector Goole is described on his entrance as creating “an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness. He is a man in his fifties, dressed in a plain darkish suit. He speaks carefully, weightily, and has a disconcerting habit of looking hard at the person he addresses before actually speaking.
Following his entrance the inspector comes in and tells the family an girl called Eva Smith Has committed suicide by drinking a strong disinfectant which burned her inside out. The Inspector shows a photograph to everyone one at a time, so he can get the information out of them. Sheila says “he’s giving us the rope – so that we’ll hang ourselves. ” But his method works because Sheila has a massive effect from the Inspector; she feels full of guilt for her jealous actions and blames herself as “really responsible. ” Mrs.
Birling is the only who doesn’t haven’t an effect of a new character, she uses her social class to protect herself from the inspector. Gerald feels pressurized so he says “I’ll go out-walk about-for a while, if you don’t mind. I’ll come back. ” This tells us that Gerald can’t cope anymore as the truth has been exposed about him and Eva Smith/Daisy Renton who was his mistress. The hyphens also express the stuttering of Gerald. Gerald tries to come up with as much evidence as possible to prove that the Inspector is a fake – because that would get him off the hook.
It is Gerald who confirms that the local force has no officer by the name of Goole; he who realises it may not have been the same girl and he who find out from the infirmary that there has not been a suicide case in months. He rather protect his self then change his self. Sheila finds out about Gerald’s affair, Gerald tries to hide it but the Inspector overhears and enquires about it which is a dramatic technique and device that controls the audience by making them read on further. The Inspector ends of with a “Well? ” The end of Act one finishes with a cliff hanger.
This search for the suspect keeps the audience interested and guessing how each member is involved. This makes the audience to make judgements about the characters Most of Act one is ironic because everyone actually knows what going on, but don’t say and gradually confess when their story is opening up. Mrs. Birling tries to hide the fact that Eric drinks, she tries to cover him up. The playwright changes the opinion of the Birling’s in Act one by making the audience dislike Sheila at the start because she’s big headed and has the power to criticize other people. Sheila calls her dad a “Purple faced-old man” which shows she’s ignorant.
During the end we start to like Sheila because she says “But these girls aren’t cheap labour – they’re people. ” She shows her change when she supports Eva Smith/Daisy Renton. The methods that Priestley uses to interest and involve the audience are Quotes, so we can review the character however we like. Cliff hangers so we want to read on and dramatic devices and techniques to manipulate the audience. Priestley also explains how we are responsible for our own actions and the consequence that come out of it. This makes us think how we can apply this to our own lives and help us change as people.
I think the playwright’s message is you should show equality to one another. In the society your actions and sayings count which can be influenced and lead to terrible things happening. It is relevant today because if a person doesn’t respect one another it can lead to fights and also make one another do terrible things, but this play can change opinions about other people.