In the opening stage directions Priestley creates a relaxed atmosphere by a group of people celebrating and having a little party. Priestley shows it’s relaxed by telling us what’s on the table. The objects on the table are all products that help people more laid back and joyful, “decanter of port, cigar box and cigarettes”. Also the light in the room is pink and intimate which is calm on your eyes and which shows everything is calm and peaceful between the characters at the moment. ” Lighting should be pink and intimate until the inspector arrives, and the it should be brighter and harder.
” This tells the audience the inspector is bringing strife to the celebration and he will cause a lot of tension. The furniture looks important and heavily comfortable but not cosy and homelike. “It has good solid furniture of the period. The general effect is substantial and heavily comfortable but not cosy and homelike. ” This says the furniture is just to show off and really for the family to sit around showing they care more about money than each other. Mrs Birling has a wealthy family so she’s always been wealthy but Mr Birling had to work hard for he money he earned by himself.
” His wife is about fifty, a rather cold woman and her husbands social superior. ” Mr Birling is a bit jealous of his wife cause she didn’t have to work for her wealth and he did. Also because he’s the man of the family he feels it’s his job to have the most money and to look after his wife and children. This shows a hint of tension between Mr and Mrs Birling from the jealousy Priestley shows a relaxed atmosphere in the beginning of Act One by having all the glasses filled and having Birling in a joyful mood. “They now have all the glasses filled. Birling beams at them and clearly relaxes.
” Later on Gerald produces a ring case to Sheila with the ring he wanted her to have. Sheila and Mrs Birling are especially delighted about the ring “Oh – it’s wonderful! Look mummy – isn’t it a beauty” This makes the atmosphere more relaxed by Sheila getting the special engagement ring she was waiting for. Birling speaks a lot about his business and he tells Gerald “She’ll make you happy and I’m sure you’ll make her happy. You’re just the son-in-law I always wanted. ” Mr Birling wants to make sure this wedding actually happens so he’s sucking up to Gerald.
Birling only wants the wedding to happen because Gerald owns a company, which competes with his company, so he will make more money. ” Perhaps we may look forward to the time when the Crofts and Birling are no longer competing but working together – for low costs and higher prices. ” This shows Birling doesn’t really care that his daughters getting married but how he can make more money from her marriage. What he says shows he believes in capitalism. He makes the occasion less delightful by talking about business rather often and the audience think Birling is moronic and idiotic.
Eric is supposed to be rather shy but he is being a bit strange and rude. In the opening stage directions it says Eric is “half shy, half assertive. ” Eric isn’t being like that he’s being quite loud and creates a bit of a mystery why he’s not being his normal self. Eric says rather noisily ” all the best! She’s got a nasty temper sometimes – but she’s not bad really. Good old Sheila. ” Eric has had a bit too much to drink but he’s still acting unusual. Eric creates more of mystery by randomly laughing, ” Eric suddenly guffaws” Sheila then says severely ” Now – what’s the joke? ” Eric replies, ” I don’t know – really.
Suddenly I felt I just had to laugh. ” Eric creates tension by not acting normal and all the characters notice he’s being a bit strange and wonder why. He’s being louder than usual to try and show nothing is wrong with him. There’s dramatic irony in Birlings speech because Preistley set the play in 1912 and it was then shown in 1946. Preistley uses dramatic irony to show Birling as an unintelligent person. Birling said, ” Germans don’t want war, Nobody wants war” and there were two world wars the first one in 1914 and the second between 1939 – 1945 and the Germans started the second world war. This shows Birling as a dumb man.
Birling then talks about the Titanic and how it’s going to be unsinkable, he says “New York in five days – and every luxury – and unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable. ” Everyone knows the Titanic didn’t reach New York and it sank. Birling makes himself look more unintelligent the more he talks. Birling then said about in 1940’s “There’ll be peace and prosperity. ” But the audience knows he couldn’t have got that more wrong because in 1940 world war two was happening. Birling believes in capitalism and everything he predicts he gets wrong that makes the audience think capitalism is the wrong way to live.
Birling then say’s there’ll be ” rapid progress everywhere – except of course in Russia, which will always be behind naturally. ” The audience know Russia was one time the most powerful country in the world. To show Birling is against socialism he said, ” We can’t let these Benard Shaws and H. G. Wellses do all the talking. ” These two people believe in socialism and because Birling managed to get everything he said incorrect you then believe socialism must be the correct way to live because Birling says it’s wrong.
Birling believes he is subtle but really the audience thinks he isn’t very bright at all. Preistley showed capitalism is wrong in an ingenious way so you believe Preistley by having Birling do a speech and managing to get everything he talks about incorrect and making the audience feel he’s dense. This makes capitalism look like a poor way to live and socialism a finer way to live. Once Mrs Birling, Sheila and Eric leave the room, Mr Birling tries to boast to Gerald.
Birling says, ” I was lord mayor here two years ago when royalty visited” Birling is saying he is important enough to meet royalty, so he thinks he’s great and an above average human being. He then says, “I gather there’s a very good chance of a knighthood – so long as we behave ourselves, don’t get into the police court or start a scandal – eh? ” and he laughs. That’s a hint that its going to happen and Birling thinks no police would try to find anything wrong with the Birlings. So the audience think he’s as stupid as ever. Preistley using dramatic irony with the police actually then appearing adds tension.