The Dramatic Function Essay
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The play ‘An Inspector Calls’ was written by J. B. Priestley and it is about a rich family, a poor girl, an inspector and what connection each member of the family has to do with the poor girl, who ends up committing suicide. It begins with the family Arthur Birling, his wife, his son Eric, his daughter Sheila and Sheila’s fianci?? Gerald. They are all having a drink celebrating the engagement of Sheila and Gerald.
Later that evening an Inspector called Inspector Goole arrives and asks questions about a girl name Eva Smith who has just committed suicide.
It starts with the family believing they have no major connections about the girl and how and why she committed suicide but as the play progresses Priestley uses the Inspector extremely effectively and all of the families secrets and lies are revealed and we find out the connection each member has with the poor girl which highlights Priestleys message.
Priestley uses the play gives out the message to society that just because the rich have power and authority it doesn’t mean that they are always good and right they are wrong and bad as well, like ‘normal’ people. The play helps show the rich that they are not ‘untouchable’ from the law and that they can get into trouble and have problems as much as ‘normal’ people and it also says that people don’t think about how their actions effect others and it also gets across Priestleys message that everyone should look after each other.
We are all part of one body. In this play I will attempt to get across views of who the inspector really is and what the dramatic function of the inspector is. At the start of Act 1 the Birling family is celebrating the engagement of Sheila Birling and Eric Croft. All evening they are all chatting happily and as it happens everything that is said ends up being contradicted later on in the play for example where Mr. Birling says, “I say there isn’t a chance of war” and yet the audience knows that soon after there is a war.
This is known as dramatic irony. In Mr. Birlings speech on page 9 he goes on he says to Eric and Gerald, “… a man has to make his own way… ” where he says that ever man should look after himself and his family and that’s it. Everyone else should look after themselves that is totally the opposite to Inspector Goole’s final speech which says the opposite to Mr. Birlings views. As the evening goes on the ladies go of to another room as the men sit and have a smoke and a chat and that is when The Inspector Calls.
As soon as he enters the room with Mr. Birling, Eric and Gerald in he creates at once an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness, which are Priestleys stage directions, which highlight how the Inspector is extremely important without speaking. This straightaway gives him an air of power that Mr. Birling doesn’t like. Mr. Birling then tries to take some of this power back by informing the Inspector that he was Lord Mayor, Alderman and that he is a close friend with everyone at the police station.