Inspector’s intellectual inferior

Birling uses the language technique of similes such as “like bees in a hive”. Using similes, loses Birling’s respectability from the audience and makes his argument appear weaker than the Inspector. The audience would not take notice of his speech as it lacks imaginative symbolism; therefore it not being very convincing. The Inspector adds metaphorical meaning into his speech such as “fire, blood and anguish” and “millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths”. The use of metaphors builds his argument about responsibility to seem stronger; this could also implant “fire, blood and anguish” into the audience’s minds which causes them to remember the meaning and feel remorse. Also by using the popular surname “Smith”, it symbolises anyone who is in the same position as Eva Smith.

The Inspector uses triples such as “fire, blood and anguish”. Priestley’s decision for use of triples at the end of the Inspector’s speech constructs the ending to appear very forceful; this makes the end of the speech memorable for the right reasons. Priestley does this to reinforce his Socialist views in a gentle way that does not feel too forceful. The audience will be forced to consider how they treat other people. Birling often repeats the word “but” during his speech. He begins his argument with “but” for example “But this is the point”. His use of “but” shows that his ideas are not organised; and that he is the Inspector’s intellectual inferior.

To undermine Birling’s speech, the director might use low lighting whilst Birling is speaking. The lighting in the scene significantly changes as he begins his speech with “But”. The atmosphere would turn into a conference room to reflect Birling’s dependence on social acceptance from Gerald; it also would allow the audience to see how weak in knowledge Birling is. The effect is to convey that his speech is not important and should not be taken to memory; it also shows that Priestley did not want the audience to sympathise with Birling.

To undermine Birling’s speech, the director would use ambient music to create the mood. Birling would possess a booming voice that loses meaning after a couple of drinks. Birling would be sitting in an armchair, holding a glass of whisky. This could be used to strengthen the Inspector’s speech, as it puts the Inspector in a good light. The Inspector would possess a firm voice that draws in respect from the surrounding characters and the audience. As respect is being transmitted to the Inspector, silence should fall to convey the importance of the speech.

In conclusion, I agree with the Inspector more than Birling. I found that the intensity of his speech was the right amount to draw in the audience’s respect and remorse. The Inspector uses intelligent language techniques to convince the audience into believing into the socialist views Priestley shares. Before reading the play, I did not believe that your thoughts affected the people around you. Soon after finishing the play, my views changed as now I strongly believe our actions, whether thoughts or speeches, affect everyone around you without you even knowing. Priestley set the play in 1912 to convey how attitudes and times have changed.

Between the years 1912 and 1945, Britain went through an amount of social changes. Which included social class was now being seen as unimportant, women starting to get their rights, and seen as equals to men and the poor being given welfare so that they could survive on minimum pay. A 1946 audience would agree with the Inspector due to these social changes that happened between 1912 and 1945, unlike a modern audience. In a modern audience, it depends on who the kind of person is, sitting in the audience happens to be and what morals they hold.

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