A ‘well made’ play is a play that observes the three unities. The three unities are as follows: Unity of Time, Unity of Action and Unity of place. The play ‘An Inspector Calls’ uses unity of time because the amount of time that passes in the play is actually how long it takes to perform in real time. It uses unity of action by sticking to one main plot. The plot is all about what the Birling family and Gerald have done to Eva Smith. It also uses unity of place as almost everything happens in the same place, which is the Birling’s dining room.
The play ‘An Inspector Calls’ was written in 1945, which was just at the end of the Second World War. The play is set in 1912, just before the First World War. The play was set at this particular time so that J. B. Priestley could get his message across more clearly. The message was that we all have to take responsibility for our actions, which can have consequences. Another reason why this may be a ‘well made’ play is that J. B. Priestley gives hints to the audience at the beginning, which builds up excitement and interest.
The hints given are revealed slowly throughout the play. Examples of the hints would be when Sheila comments about Gerald never coming near her the previous summer; eventually we find out that Gerald has been connected with an affair. Secondly could be when Mr. Birling remarks about the war and the Titanic. He carries on talking about how the Germans will never conclude to war and how it is virtually impossible. He also says that the luxury liner the Titanic is setting of next week and he describes it as “Unsinkable, absolutely Unsinkable.
” We know what happens afterwards, World War One begins and the Titanic was one of the biggest disasters in history of liners. From the examples and statements we find out J. B. Priestley is telling us something very important which is, no matter what Mr. Birling says it is completely wrong. Thirdly, when Eric says, “Yes, I remember… ” and then suddenly stops. When he says this he is having a conversation with Gerald (sister’s husband) and Mr. Birling (his dad). The conversation is on women and their clothing, as Gerald agrees with Mr. Birling by saying ” That’s true”.
Eric says, “Yes I remember… ” but as he sees his father sitting next to him he checks himself and pauses. This gives the audience a fair bit of an idea that Eric has been linked or confronted with a woman before, that no one in his family know of. Gradually, as the play progresses, the audience interest increases as more and more is revealed about the family’s involvement with Eva Smith. Firstly we learn that Mr. Birling has sacked Eva Smith from his own factory because she asked for more pay. I think Mr. Birling couldn’t care less about Eva, he thought of the situation as strictly business.
“Well, it’s my duty to keep labour costs down, and if I’d agreed to this demand for a new rate we’d have added about twelve percent to our labour costs. ” Secondly, Sheila got Eva Smith fired when jealousy arose with in her. This is when Sheila thought Eva was laughing at her at how she looked in an item of clothing. Sheila thought Eva would look much better in the dress than she would, so she complained to the manager and demanded she be fired; because of how well known and of a high-class she was the demand was met by the manager. At first Sheila did not care or realise what she had done but after knowing Eva had died she felt very guilty.
“Yes, that’s it. And I know I’m to blame and I’m desperately sorry but I cant believe- I wont believe- it’s simply my fault that in the end she- she committed suicide. That would be too horrible- Thirdly, Gerald was involved after having an affair with her and then ending the relationship after he had used her. Gerald felt partly at fault, “She didn’t blame me at all. I wish to god she had now”, said Gerald after finding out she had died. Fourthly, Eric was one of the worst of all; he had raped her, made her pregnant and also gave Eva stolen money. Eric felt absolutely terrible at what he had done and took full responsibility.
“I don’t see much nonsense about it when a girl goes and kills herself. You lot may be letting yourself out nicely, but I can’t. Nor can mother. We did her in all right. ” Lastly was Mrs. Birling, she was the one who refused to help Eva Smith when she needed the most aid. Mrs. Birling’s organisation rejected Eva even when she was pregnant only because she gave her name as Mrs. Birling (Eric’s wife). Mrs. Birling took least responsibility may be even none as this shows, “Simply because I’ve done nothing wrong- and you know it. ” All the characters had a link with Eva Smith but only some cared.
Mr. and Mrs.Birling were only concerned about their reputations and business, on the other hand Eric and Sheila took full blame whilst Gerald was rather neutral, different from all the other characters. J. B. Priestley also keeps the audience interested and fascinated through the family’s argument about who is most liable to blame for Eva Smith’s death. The audience concludes, like Sheila and Eric that they are all equally responsible for the death of Eva Smith. We see that Mr. and Mrs. Birling are trying to force the accusations on to their own children, where as they feel; the death was caused by everyone in their family including Gerald.