Priestley uses other techniques to depart his play from the detective story. In the play we can observe that Priestley avoids some conventions of a detective story because there is an absence of a crime. This is because the victim Eva Smith was not murdered but instead possibly driven to her devastating suicide. Furthermore, a crime is when the guilty suspects are punished, whereas a moral wrong doing is when no punishment is given and there is a moral lesson to be learnt. (Priestley selects a moral wrong doing to steer away from the detective story).
A main part of the play is the passionate final speech that is given by the Inspector before his departure. A quote from this speech is: "But remember this. One Eva Smith has gone". The speech portrays a message to the characters that their actions did actually happen although there were no consequences this time. In addition, the play is a morality play disguised as a detective story and therefore the speech also gives a Moral message to the audience and the Birling's: "And I tell you that the time will come when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish.
" The inspector has a message about Eva Smith's death; it is that in the end you will have to face the consequences of your actions if you do not treat people well. A moral message is used to teach a lesson; in the play we can observe that Sheila and Eric are changed by the speech and are sorry for their actions. This moral message would be extremely effective for an audience in 1946, when the first production of 'An Inspector Calls' appeared in London. Firstly in 1945 the first atomic bomb was used and the war was ended.
This means that the audience was aware of the damaged areas in London which are near to the theatre. Therefore the audience was forced to think of the violent events in the 20th century. This point will remind the audience that there is a terrible threat of another war and also, if humans do not get on together, we are in a century where technology is a tremendous force and can destruct immensely. This relation of historical context is used by Priestley to make the impact of his moral message more effective on the audience.
In 1945 and 1956 religion was a very important thing in people's lives. The last lines of the inspector's speech are memorable as it is a reference to hell. In addition, Priestley uses the fact that the play is set in 1912 to his advantage. Two of Birling's speeches at the start of the play show that he is incorrect. For example: "The Titanic… New York in 5 days – and every luxury – and unsinkable. " The audience is aware that the Titanic does actually sink and Birling is inaccurate with his theories.
This creates an element of speculation because Birling may also be incorrect about the success of the sweet-seeming evening and his new family. The ending of the play is evidence that Priestley is doing more than simply entertaining the audience with a detective story. Priestley creates this extra interest for the audience by using surprises such as the unexpected departure of the Inspector following his spectacular last speech. Furthermore the audience's interest is maintained when no arrests or punishments occur; this act also creates suspense before the revelation is revealed.
Priestley uses other twists in Act 3 to sustain the dramatic tension. The greatest example of a twist is the phone call at the end of the play. This allows the audience and characters to speculate what the meaning of the mystery Inspector will be. The telephone call makes the audience realise that the Inspector was used to send a powerful moral message to the audience. Also they are made to think about their actions in the future as the Birling family have just been given the opportunity to.
Priestley draws attention to Eric and Sheila who separate from the others because they are remorseful of their actions and have learnt a lesson. For instance: "Whoever that chap was, the fact remains that I did what I did. " Finally, Priestly hints that the Inspector is fake or even imaginary and is only used to portray a message. The inspector's name -'Goole' which could be perceived as 'Ghoul'- leaves the audience asking the question: 'Was the Inspector real? '
The successful combination of a modern morality play with a detective drama is able to put over a moral message to the audience. Whilst the conventions of a detective story continue throughout the play, Priestley includes special tools such as his manipulation of time to sustain the audience's interest. Also the audience is engaged because of the gradual development of the plot that leads to a dramatic climax. This final twist is able to deliver the essential, moral message which Priestley uses to teach a lesson to the audiences for usage in their lives.