Explore how the theme of power is presented in 'An Inspector Calls'. How would an audience react to this presentation?

756 Words May 12th, 2014 4 Pages
Explore how the theme of power is presented in ‘An Inspector Calls’. How would an audience react to this presentation?
In ‘An Inspector Calls’, power is presented in different ways and by different characters. Each character exudes or uses their power differently. These different methods of portrayal may shock the audience, and make them see certain characters in a different light.
At the start of the play, the first hint of power we see is through the appearance of Mr Birling when Priestly describes him at the start of the play. Mr Birling is described as a ‘thickly built’ man, which gives us a sense of power due to his size. The audience (only being able to see the actor playing Mr Birling) may respect Mr Birling due to his appearance,
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To Shelia’s ‘reveal’ of her use of power, the audience may be shocked that she used her power for such a shallow reason. However, as the play progresses, we see that Sheila becomes more mature and regrets her actions.
Nearing the end of the play, Mrs Birling begins to get questioned by the Inspector. At the beginning of the play, she is described as her husband’s superior, so we already have the impression that she finds herself powerful. Then we find out that she had the power to help Eva/Daisy but denied it. She says ‘Girls of that class’ which could suggest that because she’s in a higher position, she has more power over them. The word ‘class’ really just highlights how strong the class system was before the war. An audience would have been viewing this after both the world wars, and may be shocked about how Mrs Birling used her power to deny Eva/Daisy help.
Finally, in the Inspector’s final speech, he uses lots of powerful techniques to get across Priestley’s political message to the Birlings. It is about how power should be shared evenly and that there shouldn’t be differences in society based on social status. He says that ‘if men do not learn this, then they shall be taught with fire and blood and anguish’. He uses many different techniques here. Priestly is using his knowledge of events to come (the world wars) which is linked to the fire and blood and

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