I am going to do a piece of coursework on a comparison of two speeches, one is on Inspector Goole and the other is on Mr Birling. This will include a close analysis of dramatic devices and language feature, but first I will tell you a little bit about the play. The play was set in 1912 before world war one and written in 1946 after world war two. Priestly who wrote the play was a radical thinker. Priestly wrote it to entertain and moralize.
Mr Birling’s speech Priestley has used many linguistic features to make Birlings speech a success. The features I am going to discuss are on: Repetition, Conjunctions and Punctuation. I am going to demonstrate how these features culminate to aid the audience’s awareness of character context and class. Priestly makes Mr Birling sound big headed when he says, “I’m talking as a hard headed, practical man of business.” Priestly also uses some repetition in his speech here are some examples; “Unsinkable absolutely unsinkable” That is stated about half way through his speech when they are talking about the Titanic. This also give the impression of him being very confident.
And….. “Forty six thousand eight hundred tonnes, Forty six thousand eight hundred tonnes.” By the length of the sentence we can come to the conclusion that he is very impressed by the Titanic. Also….. “Facts like that, progress like that.” This shows he is big headed, self-satisfied and over confident about himself, this is shown by the examples above. The way he used repetition makes him look ridiculous because most of what he prized wasn’t correct. e.g. When he was talking about the Titanic being “Unsinkable absolutely unsinkable.” And when he was talking about there being no more wars because the world is changing, which meant the audience of 1946 knew he was wrong.
Also in Birlings speech he repeats the connectives “and” and “but”. I think the way he uses these conjunctions in his speech are too common. He uses them at the start of sentences and in the middle of them. Mr Birling’s speech, Priestly uses punctuation in a unusual way! He makes Birling’s speech seem endless and exhausting. This way of using punctuation could be used to make Birling’s speech last longer. I also think Birling might not want the others to speak so that he can get his point across. I t appears that he is enforcing is ideas on others.
Priestley makes Eric an interrupter. It seems to me, Priestley has put Eric in the play just to contradict his father and turn it into a sort of Father-Son-Quarrel. It also seems to me, in most of what Birling says his son until towards the end of the play is contradicting him until they find out that Inspector Goole isn’t a real inspector. I don’t think he respects his fathers opinions because his father is too “Big headed, smug and unrealistic.” I think the younger characters are disagreeing because they are “growing up in the real world” and Birling is being unrealistic, I also think that Eric and Sheila are shown to be far more socially minded and less selfish.
Priestley makes use of concrete nouns in Birling’s speech. I have come to the conclusion that Birling’s speech is saturated with concrete nouns such as “aeroplanes, automobiles, and locomotives.” This gives the impression that he puts things before people. There are also a fair few Triadic structures. E.g. “There’ll be peace and prosperity and rapid progress everywhere,” This construction shows the confidence in the future.” Priestley also added a’lot of emotive language to Birling’s speech.
E.g. “Impossible, progress, bigger and faster, luxury, unsinkable, scaremongers.” I think he uses emotive language; to play with the audience’s emotions also it makes more impact. Birling’s speech is full of dramatic irony because he mentioned that there would be no more wars and the Titanic was unsinkable. But we know that since the play was set and by the time it was written there had been two wars and the Titanic sank in 1912. Inspector Goole In the inspectors speech, Priestley’s makes the inspector an intriguing character, but not a real policeman as the Birling family find out eventually. Priestley also makes the inspector speak to the audience as well as the Birlings, Priestley also makes the inspector speak to the audience to make then think.
In his speech it starts with a warning, “But just remember this.” Just after that there is an example of repetition. “Millions and millions and millions.” There is also a sort of repetition throughout his speech by using short snappy sentences. Those short snappy sentences are to emphasise that society needs people to work together for greater good! Each sentence has the same message. I think Priestley makes the inspector talk to the audience is quite good. There is another example of it towards the end of the inspector’s speech, when he states a triadic structure. “Fire, blood and anguish” this spells out the idea of war-Sounds like hell! This is saying to the audience that if we do not learn from our mistakes by taking responsibility for our actions then we will be punished by war and it’s consequences. This also leads to a dramatic irony is that by 1945 there have been two wars, so the audience knows more than the inspector would have known in 1912. (Pre-wars)
The inspectors speech is about ideas so it’s full of abstract nouns. Such as hopes, fears, suffering, happiness and anguish. He speaks very openly to increase sincere effect. Because this is the final speech in the play, it has to be hard hitting, and Priestley does this using abstract nouns, repetition, triadic structures and short sentences. The inspectors view of society and responsibility and war are totally different from Birling’s ideas. Both Birling’s and Inspectors speeches lock to the future but have different visions.
E.g. Birling, sees no war and peace and prosperity all over the world, And….. The inspector sees fire, blood and anguish from those who haven’t learnt from there mistakes. Priestley makes the inspector abruptly leaves by his last short sentence, “Good night.” Conclusion Over all I didn’t like the play, we don’t know who or what inspector Goole real is, if I was to guess I would think he was either a relation of Eva, Guardian angel, Spiritualist/Psychic, enemy of the Birling’s, Joker, teacher/guide, Confessor, or a mouth piece for Priestley. It is through Goole that Priestley can present his views on society to his audience. I also think that the play “An Inspector Calls,” has a very cryptic ending.