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Explore Priestley's Dramatic Methods in Act 3 Pages 50 – 56 Demonstrating How an Understanding of the Historical and Social Context of the Play Might Help Shape the Audience Response to This Scene and the Play as a Whole.

  • Date Submitted: 02/01/2011 12:01 PM
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Explore Priestley’s dramatic methods in Act 3 pages 50 – 56 demonstrating how an understanding of the historical and social context of the play might help shape the audience response to this scene and the play as a whole.

Throughout An Inspector Calls, Priestley uses the Inspector as a way of warning the audience to address many problems that are occurring, or have occurred in society. The fact that the play is set in 1912, and written in 1945, shows how Priestly trying to show the audience how some events could have been prevented. In 1945, the Second World War had recently ended, with 55 million people left dead. This would allow the audience to relate to the situation in the play. As a result, Priestly would be showing the audience why recurring wars need to be prevented. This idea is strengthened when the Inspector suggests that there are ‘millions and millions’ of other people who need to be helped and not discriminated against. He also suggests people are ‘suffering’, and that the audience should help them. In addition to this, he also suggests that ‘we are responsible for each other’, showing why he thinks that the audience should take note and care for others rather than being selfish. This would have helped to shape the audience‘s response to the play, as they would have been able to relate to the problems discussed, more so than a current audience.
The fact that Sheila and Eric, the two youngest characters to mature and grow up during the play suggests that Priestly is trying to show the audience that anyone can learn from their mistakes and one does not have to live in the past. Priestly contrasts the characters of Birling and Eric, with Birling blaming Eric for losing his knighthood. Eric seems more calm and sensible, laughing at the fact that Birling is only thinking about himself. This shows how Eric has grown to be more mature than Birling, and they have both switched positions within the household. Although Eric understands he is not perfect,...

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