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An Inspector calls act 1
Terms in this set (11)
(Act 1, pg 1) "good solid furniture [...] champagne glasses [...] port [...] evening dress" - stage directions
The inclusion of the properties associated with wealth and, indicates to the audience that this is the house of a "prosperous manufacturer", and creates a sense of luxury.Audience of 1945 - suspicious of upper class as after 2 world wars class system experienced major changes - more cautious of authorities.Audience of 1945 - suspicious of upper class as after 2 world wars class system experienced major changes - more cautious of authorities.Blissfully ignorant of the struggles of the wider world
(Act 1, pg 7) "In twenty of thirty years' time - lets's say, in 1940 - you may be given a little party like this [...] - and i tell you, by that time you'll be living in a world that'll have forgotten all these Capital versus Labour agitations and all these silly little war scares." - Mr Birling
Opening scene is full of ironies. Dramatic irony in how Mr Birling discusses the future. He dismisses any chance of war - invasions a world of freedom and wealth, reflecting the life he currently has. Play is set in 1912 - eve of war - priestleys audience just experienced the horrors of war.Mr Birlings cruel dismissal at the serious threat of war, calling them "agitations" and "silly little war scares" turns audience against him.
(Act 1, pg 7) "we can't let these Bernard Shaws and H.G. Wellses do all the talking." - mr Birling (act 1, pg 10) "but the way some of these cranks talk and write now, you'd think everybody has to look after everybody else." - Mr Birling
Dramatic irony- Mr Birling seems unempathetic & unlikable
Telling his children to ignore any 'cranks' insults and belittles them, doesn't see them as a viable opposition, or believe that there politicle views are valid
It was possible that Mr Birlings blatant optimism, ignorance and arrogance would make the audience resent him, especially as he dismissed both the suffering of WWII and the popularity of socialism
(Act 1, pg 9-10) "a man has to make his own way - look after himself - and his family, too, of course, when he has one - and so long as he does that he wont come to much harm. But the way some of these cranks talk and write now, you'd think everybody has to look after everybody else, as if we are all mixed up together like bees in a hive - community and all that nonsense." - Mr Birling
Lecture to eric and Gerald is the exact opposite to the inspectors
Is ideal of a 'self-made man' is the perfect summary of capitalist thinking
Mr Birling thinks highly of himself - infallible 'community and all that nonsense' above caring for others
Rejects responsibility of others. 'Like bees in a hive' is animalistic, attempting to portray socialism as primitive and demeaning.
(Act 1 pg, 7 "the titanic - she sails next week - forty six thousand eight hundred tons - forty six thousand eight hundred tons - New York in five days - and every luxury - and, unmistakeable, absolutely unmistakeable." - Mr Birling
Mr Birling quotes the titanic as an example of human progress, but the audience know it sank.
The ways he reels of his stats shows his excitement
Priestly uses the titanic as a symbol for capitalist views and shows how priestly feels about the system of government
"Until the inspector arrives, and then [the lighting] should be brighter and harder"
Lighting changes imitates the atmosphere of a police interrogation
Indicates the truth will be exposed with no bias of erasure - the Birlings cannot escape scrutiny
Pg 11 "the inspector need not be a big man but he creates at once an impression of massiveness, solidarity and purposeful ness. He is a man in hid fifties dressed in a plain darkish suit of the period." - stage directions
Takes over from Mr Birling and Geralds dominance, showing that he will control what follows next,
Plain suit separates him from birlings showy luxury clothing and home
Perhaps comparing the 1940s post-war perspective with the 1910s optimism
● (Act 1, pg 11) "I was an alderman for years - and Lord Mayor two years ago - and I'm still on the Bench - so I know the Brumley police officers pretty well." - Mr Birling
Mr Birling quotes his position as "alderman", a member of the city council, "Lord Mayor", and his status on "the Bench" to use his reputation and power to win over the Inspector, as well as to intimidate him. We see him, Gerald, and Mrs Birling continue to do this throughout the play. They are used to getting their own way, and cannot accept that the Inspector does not 'respect' their authority. Priestley suggests that people use their reputation to evade responsibility.
● (Act 1, pg 11) "Two hours ago a young woman died in the Infirmary. She'd been taken there this afternoon because she'd swallowed a lot of strong disinfectant. Burnt her inside out, of course." - Inspector Goole
The Inspector's graphic, emotive description of Eva Smith's death, using phrases such as "great agony" and "burnt her inside out" contrasts with the upper classes' euphemisms - such as "go on the streets" (Act 1, pg 16) a nd "horrid business" (Act 1, pg 12) - and ignorance. This blunt, straightforward way of speaking foreshadows his blunt methods of getting to the truth. It also suggests a high level of empathy and compassion. It combats the way the upper classes try to distance themselves from the lower classes and dehumanise them, pretending they don't suffer or feel pain.
● (Act 1, pg 14) "Because what happened to her then may have determined what happened to her afterwards, and what happened to her afterwards may have driven her to suicide. A chain of events." - Inspector Goole
The Inspector's use of parallel phrasing imitates the "chain of events" he speaks of, showing how everything is linked together. The Inspector (a mouthpiece for Priestley's views) seeks to demonstrate to the Birlings how all their actions have consequences because of how society
works. Nothing happens out of the blue. The metaphor "chain of events" creates an image of connection and intimacy, but could also connote imprisonment: our responsibility to others is a duty we must face, and we cannot escape it. It is the cost of living in a society. The verb "determined" implies society almost acts as a source of fate. People have little control over how society treats them.
● (Act 1, pg 14) "Still, I can't accept any responsibility. If we were all responsible for everything that happened to everybody we'd had anything to do with, it would be very awkward, wouldn't it?" - Mr
Priestley shows how Mr Birling is resistant to the Inspector's teachings. This line directly opposes what the Inspector just said. He admits the Inspector's proposition is likely, but chooses not to change his ways. The modal verb "can't" implies there's something in his nature that stops him from taking responsibility - we could conclude it is down his privilege or entitlement. The adjective "awkward" shows how he chooses not to care for others merely because it is an inconvenience for him. This is a very selfish, self-absorbed perspective. It can be done, but he knows what he'd rather be doing
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