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

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Introduction

Ruby Rumjon Analyse how Priestly uses the inspector to create tension and suspense in 'An Inspector Calls' J.B Priestly wrote 'An Inspector Calls' in 1945 just when the welfare state began. J.B Priestly set his play in Edwardian Britain 1912; however Edwardian Britain society was still very Victorian in its attitude and structure. For example the rich, who were privileged, were meant to help out the poor through charities, as there was no welfare state. As well as the fact that social benefits did not exist at that time, but they chose not to. It was classed as the Victorian ways. Rich women did set up charities but they got to decide who they money went too. We can see how the social structure of the rich helping the poor out of a sense of responsibility for the privileges they had does not work in Priestley's play. Priestley's main character Eva is not helped by the privileged Birlings. Priestly has hindsight and uses this to create tension in the play. This is shown in the use of the titanic, "...unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable..." But in real life the boat did actually sink. Also Priestly wrote his story two years before the outbreak before WW1. Due to the setting he makes the message clearer and shows the division in equality. ...read more.

Middle

"Just keep quiet Eric". He makes them acknowledge their own guilt. The parents don't seem to admit it though unlike the kids which shows no real connections between the younger and older generation. The older members of the family worry about public reactions, whereas the younger members care more about the girl. Priestly uses the inspector to create tension for other characters. For example Mr Birling, he states the obvious that Sheila and Gerald are engaged and he says to Gerald "ids prefer you to stay" and Mr Birling replies in somewhat impatiently. There are also various points in which the inspector manages to wind up Mr Birling by the way he talks and these results in Mr Birling losing his temper. The inspector creates suspense when he shows Mr Birling the photo, the stage directions are for this part are as follow (both Gerald and Eric rise to look at the photograph, but the inspector interposes himself between them, and the photograph. They are surprised and rather annoyed) we as the audience are shocked too that the inspector does not let them see the photo it creates suspense for us as we want to find out more. Another point is when the inspector says slowly "are you sure you don't know?" ...read more.

Conclusion

Especially his mother as she finally opens her eyes and sees the true alcoholic son she has. "No of course not he's only a boy". This shows us that she presumes she knows her son but in actual fact she can't see the real truth about his drinking habits. By the end of the play the inspector last words are "and I tell you ....blood, fire and anguish" he refers to the war and is making a predicament. This is suspense to us as we know that the war did actually happen. This also makes us tense as the inspector predicts things that actually did happen. The ending would have to be the most suspense part of it all as they finally start questioning the character of the inspector. When they ring the infirmary and discover that no one is actually dead and inspector Goole does not actually exist. We all as the audience and characters in the book are shocked and confused. We all want to know who this man is. From the time the inspector enters and leaves he manages to change the whole mood of the environment. It started off all cheerful and happy because of the marriage of Sheila and Gerald. Then changes to an environment or murder and guilt. All through the way the inspector interviewed them one by one. It all turned out that each character had a part to play in Eva Smiths death. ...read more.

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