This made a good introduction because it began the play i.e. you weren’t just coming into the family dinner when the curtain opened; it gave the audience something to concentrate on and gave them something to remember. The end is very dramatically effective because when Sheila and Gerald are on their own she tells him that there’s no point in hiding the fact that he’s done something because the inspector already ‘knows’.
Tension is created by the way Sheila is so inquisitive and when Gerald doesn’t reply but looks at her guiltily. Then when he apologizes to her she is almost disgusted with him. Sheila gets rather hysterical at that point because she cant believe what Gerald had done to her- Let alone Daisy Renton or Eva Smith.The end of the act is very dramatic because Sheila and Gerald have just had a huge argument in which Sheila is triumphant and where Gerald is ‘crushed’ then the door slowly opens and the inspector is standing there and simply says ‘Well’ as if to ask have you come to a conclusion, are you going to tell your story to me or are am I going to have to force it out of you? The play has three time zones to it: – 1912 when the play was set- before the Titanic sank and the first world war, 1945 when the play was written and 2002 when we are watching/reading it.The three unities add to the whole effect of the play.
By using time place and action Priestley has shown that a certain amount of time has passed in the play and the same amount of time has passed in real life. Instead of changing rooms or scenery it is in the same place, and each act picks up where the last one left off. The plot also stays the same throughout too. So for example we aren’t in the middle of the Atlantic on the Titanic at the beginning of act two! Basically there’s one plot, one place and the same length of time passing in the play as in the theater.I personally thought that the beginning of act one dragged on when reading. For me the play didn’t really begin until the inspector arrived. It is quite good having the long speeches etc, in the play to begin with because some of the things said are quite important- Sheila’s temper for one.
I thought that it was a good first act but I felt out of place because this was set 90 yrs ago! The play was more exciting when the inspector came in because; in the national theater production he was dressed in clothes from the 1950’s so I wasn’t the only outsider. I thought it was good the way that the characters were so unaware of what was going on until they were told. The play made me think of how different life was in 1912. Today we don’t have ‘social status’ and no one is a higher ‘class’ to anyone else.
We all mix with everyone.In 1912, they thought that poor people were lazy and couldn’t be bothered to work, so they were treated like dirt. Today it’s not like that at all.
Priestley’s Socialist message isn’t clear at the end of act one but at the end of the play it’s very clear. It shows us that people in 1912 were saying things like ‘well a man has got to make his own way, got to look after himself- and his family too-‘ People were still much the same in 1945 but they were starting to see that, if they were to prevent another war, then they needed to look after everyone else as well an themselves. Today things are different. People do think about others but not before themselves, so it’s still not perfect. We still have a long way to go. Priestly play was a good start to persuading people to change, but it takes a long time. All we have to remember is to treat others, as we would like to be treated ourselves.