The first 10 pages (until the inspector) arrives are important in terms of setting the scene & establishing the characters. An Inspector Calls was written in 1945/46; however the play was set in 1912. When the playwright wrote this play it was the end of the World War 2. He uses the play to give his views on the society. He tries to give the audience the message that everyone is responsible for each other, “If we don’t accept our responsibility there will be no society. ”
He also tries to give this message through the inspector. The inspector said this in his final speech before he leaves “We are members of one body, and we are responsible for each other. ” By saying this he could be Priestley’s voice. An Inspector Calls is set in the “dining-room of the Birlings’ house in Brumley, an industrial city in the North Midlands. ” Here the playwright has played with names as Brumley is a made-up place. Birling is also a name that is made up its make the audience think of a high status and wealth!
Priestley opens the book with stage directions; this sets the scene for the audience. He puts it in detail so that when the play would be played, it will be the way Priestley wants it. Also if too much is changed the messages might not go through to the audience. When the curtain is raised the audience will see that the four Birling’s and Gerald Croft will be seated at the table, the audience will not know that Gerald is not part of their family, until later on in the play.
The audience can tell that the Birlings are wealthy, in upper class and that they live a relaxing lifestyle because they will have a “decanter of port, cigar box and cigarettes” on the table. Also another way that the audience can tell that they are in the upper class is by the way they dress. They are all in “evening dress of the period,” Mr Birling, Eric and Gerald will be dressed in “tails and white ties, not dinner jackets. ” At the table Arthur Birling is the first to speak “Giving us the port Edna?
That’s right. ” This already shows us that Arthur is head of the family and is very important. In addition the audience can tell that Mr Birling is very pompous by the big long speeches he says to everyone. What’s more is that the playwright is using dramatic irony. This is because in the speeches that Priestley gives he is saying that, “The Germans don’t want war… “, “… there isn’t a chance of war.. ” the audience of course know that this is wrong as World War 1 has happened and World War 2 as well.