In the final Act Priestley manipulates the audience’s responses using a number of proficient techniques. Priestley cleverly uses effective language devices such as rhetorical questions to direct the audience in the way he wants. Inspector-‘We are responsible for each other’. The Inspectors powerful tone and forceful language is very effective in many ways. It enables to change the mood and attitude of the characters and the style of the atmosphere. He also uses ‘we’ which involves the audience as well as the characters.
Priestly tries to teach a moral lesson through the play of responsibility and good morality. To make this moral teaching the highlight of the play, Priestley has to divert the audience’s responses in his own direction. By the end of the play the audience feel more responsible due to the Inspector’s long speeches in the final Act. Priestley has made the Inspector a stable and relaxed figure so everything he says is echoed and has more emphasis on the Birling family, Gerald and most importantly the audience. If the Inspector were an insecure and hesitant character he wouldn’t be very reliable. The Inspector is given the power by Priestley to divert the audience’s beliefs and morals. Priestley makes the inspector use rhetorical questions so the audience feel involved as part of the play.
The moral is only accepted by the younger generation Eric and Sheila who seem to be more influential on the parents, rather than the parents, on the children. We can see this; from Sheila’s change of attitude at first she was selfish and immature. However as the play progressed Sheila became deeply affected by the Inspector’s powerful language techniques. Eric who is firstly introduced to the audience as ‘half shy, half assertive’, he mostly uses colloquial language such ‘squiffy’ at the beginning of the play, however he changes dramatically during the course of the play. The language used by Eric is more defensive in the final act, which proves he has been affected by the Inspector’s words.
Eric- ‘ Then you killed her. She came to you to protect me’ Mr and Mrs Birling do not change from ignorance to knowledge and refuse to accept the Inspector’s knowledge. However the audience can see that Mrs Birling is slightly affected by the Inspector’s words, she begins to break her sentences ‘Oh – a lot of silly nonsense’, this proves she has a guilty conscience but she remains to show no remorse for her actions. Throughout the play Priestley uses the Inspector as his puppet to exhibit his opinions about the world. However when the Inspector leaves, the Birling family are trapped and left wondering what could be wrong? The Birling family’s reaction also influences audience’s reaction.
‘ He walks straight out, leaving them staring, subdued and wondering’ Through the play until just before the end, the Inspector is the audience’s representative. However in the final Act of the play, the Inspector becomes a fictional character, so the audience are left in suspicion about the Inspector for the first time. This may be because the Inspector divulges his opinions throughout the play, which differs him from a stereotypical image of an Inspector.
This leaves the audience and every member of the Birling family isolated and filled with suspicion. At this point in the play, the audience probably think that the Inspector has forced together pieces of different puzzles and created a story. The final act of the play is a stunning, effective and dramatic moment. The audience are suddenly forced to reconsider Inspector ‘Goole’. At first he seemed like a normal and well-informed person, then it seemed he might be a hoaxer. Now he becomes something altogether more mysterious.