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An inspector calls - tension and suspense

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20th Century Drama Coursework An inspector calls. I am going to write about how J. B. Priestley builds up tension and suspense within 'An Inspector calls'. The play was written in 1945 due to the divide at that time between Capitalists and Socialists. Given the fact that J. B. Priestley was a socialist (felt that everyone should have equal amounts of money), he was criticizing the ways of capitalists (they felt that you got what you earned). The play is set in 1912, a time just before a lot of dramatic incidents happened, e. g. World War 1, The Titanic sinking. All of the play takes place in the Birling's dining room, they are celebrating. Each of the characters in this play (except inspector Goole and Edna), are partly responsible for the death of Eva Smith/Daisy Renton. Mr. and Mrs. Birling are extremely proud and pompous. ...read more.


Gerald is 'an attractive chap', meaning that he's just a little big-headed, but generally well-mannered. Eric is said to be 'not quite at ease'. I do not think that Eric really fits in to the Birling family, he is quite different. The tension between Arthur Birling and the audience begins when Birling speaks of labour trouble and stating that 'we've passed the worst of it' when the first World War was just about to start or had already started. What we must remember is that people who are watching this play are still very angry and upset about the second World War. So, Mr Birling strikes them as a total idiot and the audience dislike him. A certain amount of tension amounts between various family members also. The occasions on which these things happen are: * Sheila and Gerald - Gerald told Sheila that he had been working the previous summer when he hardly went near her. ...read more.


All of these build the audience up and they become quite tense. As each of the characters is interrogated, the audience grow to dislike the characters more and more, all except Sheila, whom they feel sorry for, because she feels terribly guilty over Eva Smith's/Daisy Renton's death. She is the only one who has a conscience, really. Priestley's motivation is for people to think about how they treat other people. Many people in the audience would feel guilty for treating any one person badly. This makes the audience consider what Priestley is trying to say. In the final twist, the audience are confused as to whether the Inspector exists at all. The audience are left in suspense and are also left thinking about their role in society. Whilst there is a deep, profound and significant meaning to the play, it is also a well crafted piece of entertainment that is very much enjoyable to watch or to read. By Helen Leach ...read more.

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