” It was as if the Inspector wanted to stop the speech because it was a negative influence on the younger generation (Eric and Gerald) which sets the tone for the future. Also the lighting conditions are adjusted from “pink and intimate” to a “bright” light which is showing the interrogation of the Inspector. The Inspector questions them and makes them confess in a way a normal inspector wouldn’t. The Inspector isn’t polite and fairly to the point. He is very omniscient unlike a normal inspector who asks what happened.
The use of his omniscience makes the family confess. An example of this is when the Inspector asks Mr Birling whether he knew Eva Smith and Mr Birling replies with “No” but then the Inspector uses his omniscience and replies, “she was employed in your works,” This makes the audience think the inspector is extraordinary but ingenious in the way he deals with family because of this the audience feel the Inspector is a great and right person making the audience look up to the Inspector.
With the family having recognised his omniscience they feel they should confess as they think he knows it already. He also makes the characters confess by using didactic lines. When Gerald and Sheila discussed Gerald’s involvement with Eva Smith without the presence of the Inspector they plan to keep it a secret but then the Inspector comes in starting the conversation with “well? ” as if he knows what has been said and making the pair tell the truth about it.
The inspector also shows a photograph at certain characters one at a time, this makes the characters and audience intrigued with this photograph. What also makes the characters and audience want to know what the photograph is is that it brings such an effect on the character that had seen it making the audience and characters wonder why it’s achieving this effect on the character. The Birlings aren’t all that keen on the Inspector and they act quite aggressively towards him. The first case of this is at the beginning.
The Birlings also look down on the Inspector as a lower class compared to them. Mr Birling does this by saying that he plays golf with the Chief Constable and then asks him whether the Inspector plays golf, which is an upper class sport, the Inspector replies saying no and then Birling makes a remark “I didn’t suppose you did” showing that a lower class like him would play an upper class sport. Mr. Birling threatens the Inspector by saying he would report him, as the Chief Constable is “an old friend” of his.
With the family judging the Inspector by his class gives the audience an example of what happens in reality, and as Mr Birling is the one judging him who is seen as wrong due to the dramatic devices such as the dramatic irony at the beginning of the play the judging of the social classes is seen as wrong. During the questioning the family become further apart. This causes tension between the characters. As more is revealed about the characters involvement with Eva Smith the tension grows. For instance when Gerald’s involvement with Eva Smith is revealed tension grows between Gerald and Sheila as he cheated on Sheila with Eva Smith.
Also there is tension between the younger and older generation. The younger generation takes responsibility for their actions as we know Sheila takes responsibility because she says how she would “never, never do it again to anybody. ” On the other hand the older generation don’t take responsibility but make matters worse and blame it on someone else for instance when Mrs Birling says that the father of Eva Smith’s baby is the chief culprit and “ought to be dealt with very severely” making it worse for the father of the baby who turns out to be Eric.
This makes the audience feel that Mrs Birling shouldn’t have said that making them responsible of what they say as it might affect others. JB Priestley also conveys his concerns and ideas to the audience through entrances and exits of the characters. The entrances and exits of the characters make the audience feel nervous and it also makes the audience know what is wrong making them learn a lesson. For instance when Mrs Birling enters “briskly and self-confidently” the audience know that this confidence would be shattered by the inspector.
Also the play starts off with all the characters in one place but as the play goes on the characters exit and enter when the Inspector is there. This shows the audience that the characters are agitated and leave the room. This also shows the audience that the Inspector has disrupted them. At the end of each act appears a cliffhanger. This makes the audience stay interested and wait eagerly for the next act to occur. One of the cliffhangers is when Mrs Birling tells us about how the father of Eva Smith’s baby ought to be dealt with.
The audience then work out that Eric is a possible father and they get anxious due to them not knowing what is going to happen to him when he gets in the house. The audience get anxious over the way Eric will be dealt after the speech from Mrs Birling and how the Inspector will react towards him. The play abides by the three unities which then is destroyed near the end of the play and then diverts to JB Priestley’s time interests. JB Priestley was very much influenced by Herbert George Wells who was also a writer of his time and his works were political and didactic. Wells’ works also included theories of time and Priestley picked up on this.
Priestley understood J. W. Dunne’s theory of time which was that all time past, present, and future are happening together in some way also meaning that they are in some sequence, and that events will be repeated. In An Inspector Calls Priestley puts his ideas of time across. He does this by having the Inspector turning up to teach them a lesson (to be responsible for each other) but when the Inspector goes the Birling family still quarrel and shift the blame on one and another. Then a phone call interrupts their accusations, which says that a girl has died near the infirmary by consuming disinfectant and an Inspector will be round soon.
This means that if the Birlings and Gerald don’t learn a lesson that time will repeat until they learn that they are responsible for each other. With this happening in the play the audience would learn that if you don’t learn a lesson time will just repeat itself till you learn your lesson making them learn a lesson. Also it suggests that if you don’t learn a lesson you cant move on as time will repeat itself.