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Stage Directions of an Inspector Calls

  • Date Submitted: 11/01/2015 07:28 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 48.4 
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What do we learn from the stage directions at the beginning of ‘An Inspector Calls’?

‘An Inspector Calls’ was written during the Second World War by playwright and dramatist John Boynton Priestley, and focuses on social injustice in the early 20th century.   The play is set in 1912, Edwardian England, just before the war, which was a very difficult time for England. It was a period when there were many strikes, food shortages and great political tension. In contrast to that, the play was actually written and published in 1945, just after World War II, when the country was also in dismay. Priestly is very effective in using this time difference, as he shows the similarities in the way in society showed a   lack of responsibility in the way people felt towards each other. There was a distinct difference and social divide between the three social classes; the upper and middle classes led lavish and comfortable lives of luxury; the poor in comparison in poverty and squalor.

The staging of the opening scene is imperative as the initial setting helps to show the superiority and self-importance of the Birling family, and has a major impact on the overall opinion of the family. Priestley’s details of the stage directions are critical in developing an understanding to the background behind characters and introducing the major themes behind the play. The opening scene creates an impression of the Birling family that is not as it seems; perhaps the atmosphere implies that the contentment is slightly forced.. The Birling’s are celebrating a special occasion and are pleased with themselves. The scenery and costume within the opening scene would display the obvious wealth, luxury and happiness of the Birling’s.

The Birling’s live in a ‘fairly large suburban home’ which indicates that the Birling’s are wealthy and have some power, but may suggest that their greed for more is what controls them as characters. ‘Heavily comfortable’ could be classed as an oxymoron, as...


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