An Inspector Calls Essay, Research Paper
An Inspector Calls
?There is much bitter dramatic irony in ?An Inspectors Calls?, which the plays original audience would have been all too aware?
Whilst opinions may vary on the impact of dramatic irony in the play, I would like to argue that the dramatic irony in the play was very bitter. The true meaning of dramatic irony is where the audience knows something that the people on stage or the characters they are playing would not have known. The play viewers would be recently mourning over the loss of people in the Second World War as the play is set in this time. This is a sad and depressing event, which is very bitter towards the audience and those people whom have lost loved ones. Perhaps this is why the dramatic irony is so bitter. To the audience, this suggests that the war is a sore and upsetting subject which will make them think ?We will have to do something for this to stop.? The play will be in their minds for a long time and will not go away easily because the play hit an area which meant something to the audience therefore it will remain with them.
I have several reasons for arguing this point of view. My first reason being that the audience would have first viewed the play in 1946 (post-war times) whereas it is based in 1912. Whilst the people in the play are unaware of the fact that there are two up coming World Wars, the audience is all too aware as the heart is close to the subject as friends and relatives may have died during these years of war. The subject being the brutal and bloody killings that went on during the World Wars. An example of this is when Arthur says, ?I?m telling you now. In twenty or thirty years? time- lets say, in 1940- you may be giving a little party like this- your son or daughter might be getting engaged ? and I tell you that, by the time you?ll be living in a world that?ll have forgotten all these Capital versus Labour agitation and all these silly little war scares. There?ll be peace and prosperity and rapid progress everywhere.? This passage shows that he is talking about something which his is not sure about as in the passage he says, ?In twenty or thirty years? time- lets say??. Twice he is unsure of what to say in such a small sentence. The first time is when he says, ?twenty or thirty years?, which shows me that he is making up something as he has no evidence off, as he cannot make up the time that he is trying to explain. There is a ten-year lean way in his speech, which show he is inaccurate. Secondly he says, ?lets say? after his first sentence, which again shows that he himself is unsure of what he is prophesising and is purely making it up to make himself sound knowledgeable and superior to the other whom he is talking to. Little does he know that it is mid wartime during the second War World and people are being slaughtered on foreign lands, not for the first time. Countries are quickly losing money and are not becoming rich but are becoming poor. The people are sad and poor and would not be throwing a little party. Consequently this shows how the characters of the time do not understand how community is so very important, nevertheless this makes the dramatic irony bitter to the audience.
A further reason is that the fact that two World Wars are upon them. Some people may think that his is a point that isn?t important, however this is a very important point. World War I was, supposedly, a war to end all wars, but despite this terrible war another was soon to follow. This, to me, shows a lack in communal beliefs. Arthur has beliefs in ?Every man for himself? which are the feeling of many people, which is what made both wars happen or at least helped to make them happen. This would really affect the audience emotionally as the might have been much alike Arthur in his lack of communal beliefs and they are really forced to reflect and think of how wrong they were. An example of this is where Arthur says, ?I?m going to tell you frankly, that your engagement to Sheila means a tremendous lot to me. She?ll make you happy, and I?m sure that you will make her happy. You?re just the kind of son-in-law I have always wanted. Your father and I have been friendly rivals in business for some time now- though Crofts Limited are both older and bigger than Birlings and Company- and now you?re brought us together, and perhaps we may look forward to the time when Crofts and Birlings are no longer competing but are working together- for lower costs and higher prices.? To me this shows Arthur?s selfishness as he is talking about how his daughters wedding and marriage to the Crofts is going to help him and his business. This is just like the other people before the World Wars. Arthur is ignorant of how his actions affect other and that he is a man for himself. Consequently this will make the audience think of how these sorts of people made the upcoming and arising problems of starvation, disease and world war happen and how wrong they were to be like that. This also affect the audience personally as well, as they may be or were like this once and feel guilty, this making the dramatic irony bitter. The audience know that the selfishness of this man is reflected in the people of the time and the world wars are the result, but the characters on stage are unaware of this, creating this bitter dramatic irony that we see throughout the play
A further point in relation to this is that the dramatic irony that was present in the play would make the audience feel superior just like they once did before two World Wars. They would have felt superior, as they knew what was going to happen and what to expect to happen. Another aspect that helped these wars take place was that the people of the time of the wars had a great faith in technology, although now the audience knows than it brought more trouble than it did help. An example of this is the Titanic where everyone, even the creator, thought that it was the best vessel and was unsinkable. We now know, as does the audience, that it sinks on its very first voyage. Again Arthur supports the wonder of technology. An example of this is where Arthur says, ?The Titanic- she sails next week- Forth six thousand eight hundred tons- Forth six thousand eight hundred tons- New York in five days- and every luxury- and unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable. That?s what you?ve got to keep and eye on, facts like that, progress like that.? Consider how he repeats himself on two occasions. Firstly, when he repeats the weight scale of the vessel, which shows to me that he is truly overwhelmed by the vessel and has true faith in it. Secondly, he repeats that the ship is ?unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable? which emphasises the first point that he had complete faith in the ship, which was soon to sink. This makes the dramatic irony even greater as again many of the audience would relate to this, having had faith in technology and its wonders. Faith in the wonders of technology came before the wars and was destroyed by it. This happened since the technology before the war was helping mining, farming and general commercial life but during and after the war it brought feared and destructive weapons and machinery which were very deadly so many people died due to these new found weapons. An example of this is the tank. In this instant we can see that the dramatic irony is found when Arthur boost about technology as he feels that it is a wonder of life, but the audience know that it brought great destruction to the world.
Furthermore, the audience has just experienced a huge and bloody war, so it will still be in their minds. Everything that the characters do, the audience relates to. Whereas the characters will be acting as if they don?t know what will happen the audience will. When someone annoys you, you react, just like the dramatic irony is doing to the audience but instead of being annoyed they are sad because of the bitterness of the dramatic irony. They know the horror of the wars, as it is still fresh in their hearts.
Finally, the play is based on a story of a dead girl who has committed suicide due to many factors, which the inspector was soon to prove was caused by the Birling and Croft families. When the inspector leaves the older generation decide to see if inspector Goole is a real inspector. After phone calls to the mortuary and to the police station it is concluded that the inspector was a fake. The older generation responds by being relived that it was so that their personal life is not affected. The younger generation, on the other hand, are so upset on how they played a part in the potential death of this young lady. They regret all that they had to do with the lady and are very mortified because of their actions. Soon after this there is a phone call and a young lady has committed suicide and an inspector is on his way over. This shows a repeat in history. At this moment the audience would realise that Priestly is referring to the two World wars and how the old generation not only caused one war but actually made two. The audience would realise that they made one war and should have learned their lesson the first time without having to repeat themselves and causing many death of people who they did not know. What’s more the use of the inspectors name, Goole, present the fact that he is a spiritual character and is representing a message that unless they change their ways then more war and suffering will arise. He could almost be portrayed as the spirit of the lost people that have died due to the two great world wars
Therefore, although some people might argue that the play is not bitter, I think that the points that I have illustrated have shown that the play does have much bitter dramatic irony because the irony is true to the heart and real, not some fictional portrayal of a story. Finally it is close to the audience?s heart as they have just experienced it and may have lost a loved one and may have known people or family members that could have died. So it is a bitter dramatic irony rather than a joyful one, to the audience. The overall effect this play has on the audience is the bitter part.