Anda di halaman 1dari 3

English literature controlled assessment

Task: explore the ways in which an important character is presented to the audience

J B Priestley presents an important character such as Mr Birling through examples of dialogue, lighting, sound fx and props. Priestley does this to create different atmospheres and so the audience can develop a good understanding of certain characters .

The lighting that is used in the play suggests what atmosphere Priestley is trying to create. In the opening of the play the audience is introduced to a stage with pink and intimate lighting. This is trying to create an informal tone and to suggest a familiarity, this is because the Birling family are having a party so therefore the lighting should reflect this.

The sound fx are used to create a certain atmosphere on stage. In the play, the stage directions describe a sharp ring of the front door bell the word sharp is used to create a tense atmosphere and to change the mood of the play. The lighting also shows this by changing from a very intimate pink light to a brighter, harder light to also show a drastic change of setting.

The setting/props also suggest a lot about what kind of person Mr Birling is. The setting describes the house as "fairly large" and "suburban" this tells the audience that him and his family are rich, middle class people who are respected. It also says the house contains "solid furniture" which implies that the Birling family have enough money to buy luxuries and expensive furniture.

The props also included in the play are "desert plates and champagne" this clearly shoes that they are having a party and they can afford expensive food and drink, which of that period, would be very sophisticated and rare.

Priestley uses dialogue as a device to say how something is presented and delivered in a character. He uses dramatic irony in Mr Birlings delivery to make him sound foolish by saying that "Germans don't want war" and the titanic is "unsinkable". This play was set in 1912 and because the audience knows that titanic sank and there have been two world wars it establishes Birling as a simple and prosperous figure.

Mr Birling also describes the engagement between his daughter (Sheila) and her fianc (Gerald) as "one of the happiest night of my life" this is not because of the fact that they are soon to be married but merely because that the engagement presents a business opportunity. Birling sees this as a chance to merge with rival companies and to gain more money. Priestley does this to show that Mr Birling doesn't care for his family and is greedy and self centered.

Another way that Birling appears egocentric is when he says "now Sheila, I'm not defending him but you must understand a lot of young men-" Mr Birling is defending Gerald after he had just cheated on his daughter therefore making him appear selfish because he is only concerned about his priorities and his business more than his daughters feelings.

The way an important character is introduced is also mentioned in the stage directions. The stage directions describe Mr Birling as a threatening and sinister character by saying that he is a "heavy looking rather portentous man".

What is said about Mr Birling also reflects the person he is . Birling's son Eric says to him "Youre not the kind of father a chap could go to when hes in trouble. Thats why" by saying this the audience knows that Mr Birling is not much of a family man and he only looks after his family out of duty and is not much of a father figure to his own son. Priestley has chosen this so Birling sounds selfish and conceited.

Mr Birling also says "I must say Sybil, that when this comes out in the inquest, it isn't going to do us much good." Priestley uses this to demonstrate how selfish Mr Birling is and to show that he only cares about his public reputation over his family's well being. He also appears selfish when he says "a man has to make his own way, look after himself" this also suggests that Mr Birling is a arrogant person who only cares for himself. Priestley also presents Mr Birling as a stubborn character by using the line "still I can't take any responsibility" although there is evidence that Mr Birling was to blame, he still cannot accept the fact and denies that anything was his own fault.