• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Analyse how Priestley uses the inspector to create tension and suspense in 'An Inspector Calls'

Extracts from this document...


Analyse how Priestley uses the inspector to create tension and suspense in 'An Inspector Calls' In 1945 audiences for the first time were seeing J.B. Priestley's latest work - 'An Inspector Calls': A play written to challenge the class system and social workings of Britain that had been in place for hundreds of years. Priestly believed firmly in the concept of social equality, or as its better known, socialism. During the war he made many radio broadcasts, talking about how a stronger Britain could be built from the ruins that the war would leave. The class system comprised of three "levels": "Lower", "Middle" and "Upper". Almost the entire wealth in Britain was owned by a very small percentage of the upper class. It consisted mainly of owners of large business empires or other profitable enterprises. The middle class was made up of small time successful business men, or people who had married into it. The lower class consisted of factory workers, servants or other employees working for just enough money to keep themselves alive. During the war this system had been inoperative. ...read more.


Mr Birling is expecting to receive a knighthood, which would enable him to potentially move in higher social circles and move up the social ladder. As long as he can "keep out of trouble for the next few months" his knighthood is almost guaranteed. When the inspector starts to uncover the less respectable side to his family tension is built because Mr. Birling and the audience are aware that should the results of the inspector's enquiry get into the public domain his chances of being awarded a knighthood would be shattered. The inspector tries to make the Birlings feel guilty for what they have done. The way in which he asks questions makes the audience think they are being accused; this also helps to build tension. Every so often the inspector will describe Eva's death, each time adding a little more detail, in the hopes of making them feel guilty and responsible for what they have done. The language he uses is graphic: he stresses words such as "agony" to try and make his point. He wants them to realise their social responsibility and not abuse their social position. ...read more.


Although he asked questions, he appeared to already know the answers which again reinforces that he wasn't there to get answers, he was there to make a point. His parting words have an incredible effect, as the audience, who have just lived though a war, can easily identify with them: "...and if man cannot learn this lesson they will be taught it in blood, and fire, and anguish. Goodnight" After the Inspector has left there is tension and suspense created as all the characters start to blame each other for their supposed involvement with the death of Eva. Mr and Mrs Birling still firmly maintain that they have done nothing wrong, Gerald accepts limited responsibility and despite all the evidence that Gerald put forward Sheila and Eric still recognise the part they played in Eva's suicide and feel responsible and guilty. The play is ended in an intense atmosphere of tension and suspense as Mr. Birling answers the phone to find "...a girl has died on the way to the infirmary after drinking some strong disinfectant..." and "...a police officer is on his way here to ask us some questions." This leaves the audience wondering - Who was 'Inspector Goole' and how did he know what he did? Alistair Fenning 22/10/02 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE J.B. Priestley section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE J.B. Priestley essays

  1. How does J.B. Priestley create dramatic tension and suspense in Act One of "An ...

    the opportunity to take some port, this may be a result of his crimes (he is constantly feeling guilty about stealing his father's money). After the Inspector mentions that Eva changed her name to "Daisy Renton", Gerald immediately takes a drink of whisky to relieve himself, and thus blatantly giving himself away.

  2. How does Priestley create tension in the play through characterisation, structure and atmosphere?

    This creates tension as all the men are suspicious at the fact that the two young men can't see the picture yet as the inspector likes to take enquiries in one line at a time. Tension is created when Eric in annoyance starts to ask questions, as Birling remembers he

  1. How does Priestley create suspense and tension at the end of Act 2 of ...

    As the interview went on with the Inspector asking more question, all the time applying pressure to Mrs Birling, she said less. From a 1/3 page speech at the start of the interview, she ended on virtually one word answers by the end of it.

  2. Analyse how Priestly uses the inspector to create tension and suspense in 'An Inspector ...

    His character is constant throughout the play and he never changes. He is looked at as God as he some how points the finger at their conscience "One Eva smith has gone but there are millions and millions and millions of Eva smiths and john smiths still left with us.

  1. How does Priestly create suspense and tension at the end of act 2 of ...

    is putting down her son, and saying things she would never dream of saying if she new the father was her son, Eric. This shows how hypocritical Mrs. Birling is, and the audience know that Mrs. Birling will be shocked and won't accept it when she realises, this may be

  2. How Does Priestley Create Suspense And Tension At The End Of Act 2 Of ...

    This dramatic irony is also used in the end of act 2 when it is obvious that the father of Eva's baby was Eric. The first time that I thought it was Eric was when Mrs Birling says, "the father was only a youngster - silly and wild and drinking too much."

  1. Discuss how Priestley creates dramatic tension during Gerald's and Mrs Birling's conversations with the ...

    The great ship "The Titanic" sunk to the bottom of the ocean. The audience would have known this but Mr Birling happily talks about the ship as being great, so we have dramatic irony. Another main character in the play is Eva Smith; the whole story of inspector calls is based around her.

  2. How Does J.B Priestley Create Tension in 'An Inspector Calls'?

    This would make the audience think that Eric must really need a drink. Another way Priestley creates tension is through characterization. There is a clear social hierarchy in the family, Arthur at the top then Sybil then Sheila then right at the bottom, Eric.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work