The following sample essay on Dramatic Devices In An Inspector Calls discusses it in detail, offering basic facts and pros and cons associated with it. To read the essay’s introduction, body and conclusion, scroll down.
We now start to see similarities in characters actions, Arthur Birling, when in trouble hoped rescue by his status, now we see Eric in trouble, and his true character is under interrogation, he goes to alcohol. This is giving us evidence for their immorality itself being a source of courage.
The family becomes disintegrated upon the inspector’s interrogation. This truly reflects the relationship between each of them, they are living in such hypocrisy, they are concerned of what the public will think of them, but fail to contemplate on their own actions.
This also confirms my point at the start where I said ‘there is no love between them’. As we discuss themes in further, we find that certain explanations begin to prove and link points I made earlier, in the start I referred to ‘battle ground of socialist and capitalist systems’.
Clearly here upon the inspector interrogation, the family become noticeably weak and defenceless, only returning back to there alcohol. Priestley enables us to study these themes, from one device we have opened many areas and have studies quite deeply.
I believe that, due to Eric’s severe corruption, it is possible to study themes, jus through this character, as his alcohol issue and corruption leads to other characters and themes; therefore this also proves the effectiveness of the dramatic device.
Eric’s actions also reflect the failure of his father to teach moral values to his children, as Eric turns out just like his father, where on the outside there are principled people yet there is immorality behind the exterior. ‘I gathered there’s a very good chance of knighthood’ ‘I was lord mayor here when royalty visited’
Although Arthur Birling head of the household stands superior in society, he truly shows us the corruption that lies in the family and society, where though seen to be principled and respectable people with such a position, they do not match in their morality. Eric always turns to alcohol instead of using moral courage. This is similar in all the male characters apart from the Inspector. Even Gerald is addicted to the drink, as he also reaches out for courage, using alcohol to change the subject. ‘D’you mind if I give myself a drink, Shelia?
‘ Eric is perhaps a result of Arthur’s capitalist’s way of ‘every man for himself’, his beliefs integrated into the family made Eric an outcome. Eric’s hypocrisy in behaviour, example him stealing money, which at the time and context is serious theft, also gives evidence for Birling issue of status, he climbs for status but he puts aside values to achieve this, by this I mean, what Priestley is trying to say is, the status you have is outwardly, he is telling the audience, look what really is behind this person, how can he be given status?
Perhaps teaching your children moral values having a good family maybe the best reputation you can have. This is perfect example of capitalist beliefs Priestley is trying to protest, through the dramatic devices he is exploring the true condition of society. Socialists believe looking after everyone, so the country can prosper. Priestley is presenting us with a clear picture of how deeply affected society is, he is showing the problems are all over.
This proves how effective the dramatic device is, the actions revolve around alcohol through this we can study the themes of morality, families and responsibility in the play. Priestley’s message, is telling us although being capitalists they are in moral bankruptcy which causes the low class people to become the victims of people like the Birlings. Another issue is also tackled, Priestley fights for equality as well in the story, and he shows Sheila’s lack of power. Throughout the interrogation we see how Sheila was always ignored by her father.
Eva smith is the biggest victim here, a defenceless women controlled by pompous families leading to her tragedy. This also reflects and gives us evidence of the suffragettes which shows us what women were going through at the time. Generally the women were more moral than women, we see that Sheila faces up to the facts, Eric has not developed moral responsibility. (top of page 32) Sheila infact is more conscience than the parents. Sybil is pompous just like her husband; her husband has seemed to have an affect on her morality.
This is shown when Sybil rejects Eva smith charity; mainly because she said her name was Birling, demonstrating her smugness and self-importance. Inspector calls. Society needs an inspection, abiding moral laws; the word Goole perhaps connotes a Ghoul to the Birlings. The themes are discussed through Alcohol and we know that The Inspector stays away from Alcohol. Meaning he does not fall under this category, this is not to say he is against drinking, but he is able to control himself, using his morality as a source of courage, unlike the Birlings who go to alcohol.
The Inspector seems to be very good at controlling the whole situation. Birling accepts his insistence. The author he is showing contrast in the two enemies, how capitalists mean ‘destruction’ and how socialist will help the country prosper. Priestley shows It is not only the Birlings, but also the Crofts who are equivalent in there capitalism and lack of morality. ‘Gerald also goes to bars’. Telling us that selfish families working together killing the people, which is what they practically did.
It shows that both families failed to teach there children moral values. They believe as long as the people don’t find out it is okay. ‘Look Inspector I’d give thousands’ (so long as he doesn’t tell the public. ) The author clearly explains to us here, the deepness in corruption, a young girl’s death was no ‘dagger to the heart’ or no means of remorse, yet again the only thing of importance was their status and image. All the cases above are influenced by Alcohol, e. g. the place bar e. t. c.
Priestley is using Alcohol as a physical manifestation of the corruption and hypocrisy of pre-world war society. Through tinted bottles of wine we see the decadence. He is showing, by exploring the different themes of responsibility and status, that society is towards destruction in the hands of the capitalists. The ‘low classes’ are suffering from this; Priestley also makes political reference, ‘Alderman Meggarty goes to the palace bar, drinks alot’ He implies that where there is power there is corruption and the capitalist where generally in power.
On the account of hearing this Mrs Birling was absolutely staggered by this, Priestley shows how pompous they are as they believe no one has the right to go against them, despite there being clear corruption; this also shows the suffocating hypocrisy they live in. Therefore written in 1946 near WW2, Priestley is saying that society is making the same mistakes as in WW1, the lesson was not learnt on Eva smith’s death, and he is warning society. He emphasises, if men will not learn his lesson, they will be taught in ‘Blood, fire and anguish’. Society needs change.
In conclusion, the dramatic device has produced a specific effect on the audience; it has enabled us to explore the themes in society of morality, class, families and responsibility. The message has been clearly displayed through these uses. From what seemed to be just a detective story it has truly opened to a whole new genre.