J. B Priestley gives us a lot of clues in the play ‘An Inspector Calls’ which makes us feel that things are not quite as they seem. In the play we see that there is a lot of tension in the Birling household, and there are a lot of secrets kept amongst them. In the play at the engagement party we find out that there are a lot of arguments going on between the men and the women. Also we find out that Gerald had been avoiding Sheila all last summer and Sheila feels that she should know what had happened last summer. “Yes-except for all last summer, when you never came near me, and I wondered what had happened to you.
” We also find out that Sheila needed a ring from Gerald for reassurance. Next we find out that Eric was hiding something because he says in mid sentence “Oh yes, I remember” but then he pauses and doesn’t tell anyone about it. This suggests to us that he was hiding something from the beginning. Paragraph 2 In the play ‘An Inspector Calls’ J. B Priestley uses cliffhangers to attract the attention of the audience. Near the end of act 1 we see that Gerald and Sheila are having a conversation, Sheila is saying to Gerald “How did you come to know this girl- Eva Smith?
” Gerald tells her that he does not know an Eva Smith, he only knows a Daisy Renton. Gerald asks Sheila not to tell the Inspector about Daisy Renton “Yes we can keep it from him”. From this we feel some suspense because we are finding out how Gerald came to know Daisy Renton but then the act ends with the Inspector saying “well? ” So this makes you want to read more. Then we see at the end of act 2 when Mrs. Birling is talking to the inspector and she finds out that Eric Is addicted to drinking. Eric enters looking very pale and distressed and then the act ends.
In act 3 we find out that the Inspector wasn’t real so this makes us wonder who the Inspector really was which makes it a mystery. The play ends and it makes us still feel suspense because it doesn’t end like a normal play, but in a way I think the ending is quite good because if it was to end in another way I don’t think it would have been quite as appropriate to the play. Paragraph 3 J. B Priestley shows us in the play how the Inspector reveals the part the characters had played in the killing of Eva Smith/ Daisy Renton. In the play we find out that the whole family including Gerald played a part in the killing of Eva/Daisy.
Mr. Birling we find out had sacked Eva Smith just because she was asking for a pay rise. She needed the money, she had a valid reason but still Mr. Birling had turned her away. Then we find out that Eva has a job at Milwards, she was happily living her life, starting over afresh until we find out later that Sheila had got her sacked. Sheila had thought that Eva was laughing at her when she was trying on clothes. Next we find out that Gerald meets her at the Palace bar, she was looking very sad and didn’t look like she belonged there. “She looked young and fresh and charming and altogether out of place down there”.
Gerald tried to help her by giving her somewhere to live, in his friend’s apartment. But both of them knew that this wasn’t going to last forever, so in the end he left her as well. Also you have Eric who meets her at the Palace bar; he gets her drunk and has an affair with her. In a way he tries to help her by giving her stolen money, but she realized that she couldn’t live like this so she refused the money. She then turned to Mrs. Birling for help, she had no where to live and she didn’t have a lot of money but still Mrs. Birling refused to help her.
She was convinced that a girl in her position shouldn’t have been refusing money and was prejudiced against her case from the start. Paragraph 4 J. B Priestley reveals to us in the play the true nature of the characters as the play progresses. Mr. Birling in the play thinks very highly of himself, he is arrogant and very stubborn as he says in the play. “We hard headed practical businessmen must say something sometime”. This suggests that he is mainly talking about himself and shows that he doesn’t care about anyone else. Mrs. Birling doesn’t take any responsibilities she’s not really aware about what’s going on around her.
We also find out that Eric is a very heavy drinker at the same time Mrs. Birling find out. “But I didn’t know it was you- I never dreamt. Besides, you’re not the type- you don’t get drunk-. “Sheila’s reaction to the death of the girl is sadness because she feels terrible for the trouble she caused the young girl. Finally we see Gerald’s true character when he explains to the Inspector how he gets involved with Daisy Renton. He had an affair with her all last summer and he wasn’t seeing much of Sheila. So basically he was keeping this a secret from Sheila. Paragraph 5
J. B Priestley reveals to us how the characters behave towards each other especially after the inspector leaves. Mr. Birling doesn’t want to take the blame for Eva’s death so he blames Eric and also he is worried about his public status. He is worried about if he is going to get knighted or not. He doesn’t care about what happened to this girl Eva smith. All he cares about is if this becomes a public scandal. “Yes, and you don’t realize yet all you’ve done. Most of this is bound to come out. There’ll be a public scandal” Mrs. Birling takes the side of Mr. Birling.
She blames the whole thing on Sheila and Eric. However Sheila and Eric did take the blame for what they did to Eva Smith, they both felt guilty and had learnt their lesson. Gerald didn’t feel too guilty and he didn’t entirely blame someone else either. After the Inspector left, Gerald acted normally and ‘cool’ and tried to figure things out. He tried to figure out if the Inspector was real or not and afterwards they rang the infirmary to see if what happened was true. He then started to act as if nothing had happened. So in a way he didn’t feel guilty. Paragraph 6 J.
B Priestley uses dramatic irony in the play, In act 1 we see Mr. Birling talking about how everyone should look after themselves and as long as they do that they won’t come to any harm “But what so many of you don’t seem to understand know, when things are so much easier, is that a man has to make his own way- has to look after himself- and his family too, of course, when he as one- and so long as he does that he wont come to much harm” This is dramatic irony because we find out that by looking after themselves and by not helping Eva Smith they managed to cause her so much pain and suffering.
Each one of the Birling’s helped Eva to a miserable death because they were only concerned about themselves and not about the well being of this girl. Also in act 1 we see Mr. Birling talking about how there won’t be any wars and how the Titanic is absolutely unsinkable. This is Dramatic irony because we know that there would be two world wars and the Titanic would sink. In act 2 we see Mrs. Birling talking to the Inspector about the father of the unborn child and if there was anyone to blame, it should have been him “secondly, I blame the young man who was the father of the child she was going to have.
If, as she said, he didn’t belong to her class, and was some drunken young idler, then that’s all the more reason why he shouldn’t escape. He should be made an example of. If the girls death is due to anybody, it’s due to him” Mrs. Birling was unaware that all that she was talking about would go against her. We knew that this young man was Eric but because Mrs. Birling doesn’t take responsibility of what is going on around her, she didn’t know it was him until the last moment. Also in act 3 the Inspector talks about if people carry on keeping to themselves how this will end in ‘blood, fire and anguish’.
This is dramatic irony because what he was talking about happened in the form of the two world wars. Paragraph 7 J. B Priestley reveals to us in the play that there could have been more than one girl. In the play we find out that a girl called Eva smith dies from swallowing disinfectant. Also we find out that the Birling family and Gerald had something to do with it. What we don’t know is if it was one girl or many. There could have been more than one girl because unless it was a coincidence, the girl couldn’t have been involved with the whole of the Birling family.
In act 1 we find out that Gerald did not know an Eva Smith he only knew a Daisy Renton. From that point on in the play the only people that knew a Daisy Renton were Gerald, Eric and Mrs. Birling, and the only people that knew an Eva smith were Mr. Birling and Sheila. So there could have been more than one girl, maybe Eva Smith didn’t change her name to Daisy Renton; maybe they were entirely two different people. Also when the Inspector was showing the photographs to Mr. Birling and Sheila, there was no proof that it was the same photograph because the photograph that was shown to Mr.
Birling, wasn’t shown to Sheila and the photograph that was shown to Sheila, wasn’t shown to Mr. Birling. So there was no proof that it was the same photograph and no proof that it was the same girl. But at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if it was one girl or many because what the Birling family and Gerald did to the girl, was totally wrong as Eric says “And I say the girl’s dead and we all helped to kill her-and that’s what matters” Paragraph 8 In the play J. B Priestley leaves us puzzled about the identity of the Inspector.
In act 3 we find out that there was no Inspector called Inspector Goole. This makes us think that after all the questions he asked the Birling family and Gerald, how much information has he really taken with him. Also it makes us wonder how he knew all this information if he wasn’t a real police inspector. How he knew all this information about this girl Eva Smith and how they were linked to her “There’s no Inspector Goole on the police. That man definitely wasn’t a police Inspector at all.
As Gerald says- we’ve been had” This leaves the play ending as a mystery but just as the Birling’s begin to go back to their old ways, the phone rings and there is another Inspector on the way. This leaves us even more puzzled because what happened in the play was going to happen again. But overall I think the Inspector was just their conscience warning them that if they were to go back to their old ways then, they would have to be punished again. Conclusion I think overall throughout ‘An Inspector Calls’ J. B Priestley keeps us interested by using a variety of techniques.
In the play we see that he uses Dramatic irony in acts 1, 2&3. Also he uses cliffhangers to end each act which makes us want to find out what is going to happen next. He also reveals to us how there is a lot of conflict going on between the members of the Birling family. This is good because he leaves clues at the beginning of the play which develops the plot and makes us interested. It also makes us know more than we already do. Another thing Is that he reveals to us what role each of the characters played in Eva/Daisy’s life. Using all these techniques he uses suspense in the play to make us interested and read more.