JB Priestly’s ‘An Inspector Calls’

The inspector creates tension by getting straight to the point, especially about important things. For example the inspector says: ‘ I don’t want any of it from either of you. Settle it afterwards. Did you arrange to see each other after that? ‘ The function of the inspector is to get information as quickly as possible. This effects the characters because they don’t want him to find out certain things about each other, also it effects the audience by seeing the inspector doing things properly and doesn’t wait about.

The pace and length of each of the inspectors sentences were very good. For example Inspector: ‘(coolly, looking hard at him) There might be. ‘ The inspector’s sentences are sort of a short length, which makes tension between the characters, which effects the characters too. The function of the inspector is to create tension. The inspector had a major effect on some of the characters. The inspector helps them to see the extent of each characters involvement in the downfall of Eva Smiths death. He encourages them to see their guilt, and to what they have done.

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Each character is made to face up to the fact that they must judge themselves, because then they will have learned something and be able to change themselves. This had mostly affected Sheila and Eric. Firstly Sheila was very unhappy to find out that a woman had ‘swallowed a lot of strong disinfectant’. She said ‘It’s just that I can’t help thinking about the girl destroying herself horribly and I have been so happy tonight. ‘ This shows the audience and the characters that she doesn’t really care about the girl she had ‘ been so happy tonight. ‘ Then she found out that it could have been her fault that Eva Smith had died.

Sheila explains that the girl, who was pretty, held up a dress against herself in the shop and it suited her. When Sheila tried the same dress on she caught sight of the girl ‘smiling at the other assistant,’ as if to say that Sheila looked awful in it. Sheila was rude to both of them and complained to the manager, saying that the pretty girl had been impertinent. Sheila has used her power as an upper class citizen and got her sacked. Eventually Sheila realises she is partly to blame for Eva’s death. For example Sheila says, ‘Yes that’s it. I know I’m to blame I’m desperately sorry.

‘ The inspector made Sheila realise what happened and taught her something. Eric was the other character that got effected but possibly not as much as Sheila. Throughout the play eventually, Eric realises what he has done he says, ‘And it doesn’t alter the fact that we all helped to kill her. ‘ This connotes that Eric has learnt something. On the other hand Mr and Mrs Birling and Gerald were totally the opposite. They did not take anything seriously, they were not sorry at all and they didn’t learn anything from the inspector. For example Mr Birling: ‘ Nonsense!

You’ll have a good laugh over it yet. ‘ So Mr Birling thought it was just a joke, a scandal. When the inspector was talking about Eva Smith and said ‘that the girl had changed her name to Daisy Renton. ‘ At this point, Gerald became agitated and gets himself another drink. As the inspector leaves the room to find Mr Birling, Gerald admits to Sheila that he knew Daisy Renton. He wanted to keep it from the inspector but Sheila says its ‘impossible,’ because he knows. After a while Sheila find s out everything about, where he was all previous summer, and this nearly breaks up his marriage.

However Gerald reacted in a similar way as Mr and Mrs Birling he says, ‘because I say there’s no more real evidence we did that there was that chap a police inspector. ‘ This effects the characters and shows that Mr and Mrs Birling and Gerald are not good people, they take everything for granted. This also effects the audience, it displays to them that the older generation are not as wiser that they should be. Mr and Mrs Birling and Gerald have a ‘celebration’ when the inspector had left. There could be some help for the future if the younger generation change.

JB Priestly thinks that young generation people are much clever and there is hope for the future. Priestly uses him as a device to emphasis on what he thinks. In conclusion, ‘An Inspector Calls’ by JB Priestly, has created many functions for the inspector. The function that has been most effective throughout the play is creating dramatic tension, by using a number of techniques, like interrupting. We get the feeling that the inspector’s visit was mostly vain. There is a possibility that Eric, and especially Sheila might have learnt something, hopefully people can learn something from this and change their ways.

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