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

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Analyse how Priestly uses the inspector to create tension and suspense in 'An Inspector Calls. J.B. Priestly wrote 'An Inspector Calls' in 1945. It is set in 1912, two years before the outbreak of the Second World War. It was written about a time when there was a great divide between the 'haves' and 'have nots' (the rich and the poor). The Birlings, the main family in the play, are considered to belong to the better off, the rich part of society at the time. Normally, this would influence the way that people addressed and spoke to them, and the way that they themselves thought they could treat people. This is shown throughout in the play, with the way the family try to influence the Inspector. As soon as the Inspector enters, there is an instant atmosphere. He is created by J.B Priestly to 'create at once an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness'. This gives the audience the impression that he has great authority in the play, and is a man not to be messed with. When he enters, he does not seem friendly, just professional. Mr Birling: 'Have a glass of port...' ...read more.


The Inspector is abrupt and forceful, allowing the audience to think that the inspector knows more about this family than he is letting on, and the involvement they had in Eva Smith's suicide. As the Inspector is quite forceful with his words, this makes Mr Birling confess his connection to the girl. This causes tension within the audience and the family, and also leads to confusion and accusations. 'Is that why she committed suicide?' This shows that the Inspector has caused a rift between the family, and has unsettled the closeness that the family was feeling earlier in the evening. The Inspector causes a divide between the children and their parents, which then carries on throughout the length of the play. Mr Birling tries to patronise the Inspector again. '[Chief of police]. Perhaps I ought to warn you he is an old friend of mine.' This leads the audience to believe that Mr Birling is quite nervous, and is obviously feeling guilty because he is trying to frighten the inspector with authority. The Inspector never shows the picture of the supposed Eva Smith to more than one person at a time, and always conceals it in his coat pocket. ...read more.


He knows that she will feel the most guilt, as she is the youngest in the family, and the most impressionable. 'You're partly to blame'. He talks with an abrupt tone, making it seem worse and deepening her guilt over what happened to the girl. To conclude, J.B. Priestly uses a variety of different ways to create tension and suspense throughout the entire play. As the play was written after the war but set before it, the writer had hindsight of the events of war. Perhaps he wanted to write about what could have happened if people had not come together as one for the war, and what the world would have turned into with a great social rift dividing those with and without money. The Inspector himself is very suspicious, even his name, Goole pronounced Ghoul, could be a metaphor meaning he is not what he says he is. The Inspector seems to have a sense of hindsight throughout the play, letting the audience believe that in someway he was involved with the victim, perhaps in a spiritual way. He quotes the Bible. 'We are members of one body'. This makes the audience believe that he is a manifestation of the Lord, or some sort of messenger warning them about the future, and the consequences they could face for their actions. . Holly Waterman 11E ...read more.

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