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Examine the techniques used by J.B. Priestley to create dramatic tension and mystery throughout An Inspector Calls(TM)

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Examine the techniques used by J.B. Priestley to create dramatic tension and mystery throughout 'An Inspector Calls' It is Sixty years since 'An Inspector Calls' was first performed in Moscow after the Russia Revolution in 1945. The play has remained popular ever since this first production and was revived very successfully at the National Theatre in 1994, only seven years after Mrs. Thatcher made her famous statement that 'There is no such thing as society: there are individual men and women and there are families'. One of the reasons for its enduring popularity must be the skill with which J.B. Priestly creates and maintains tension and mystery throughout the play. Although it was first performed in 1946, it is set in 1912 when Edwardian class divisions were still apparent. One example of this in the play is from Mrs. Birling treating Edna abruptly by saying, 'All right, Edna. I'll ring from the drawing-room when we want coffee'. She is telling Edna to get out of the dinning room rather than being in the dinning-room and disturbing their family's conversations. Another example in the play which suggests the Edwardian class divisions existed is from Mr. Birling trying to bully the inspector by asking him the question, 'How do you get on with our Chief Constable, Colonel Roberts?' to intimate that he is a friend of the constable and he plays golf with him frequently. He is also intimating that he could get the inspector into trouble easily if the inspector behaves offensively to him. ...read more.


The inspector gave himself an impression of an enigmatic figure to the audience. He refuses to be bullied and intimated by a social superior. He does not conform Mr. Birling's ideas about class. He treats and respects everyone the same and he thinks that everyone should be equal. Therefore, he does not implement social superior's order and he goes and do things in his own way, an example of this is when he tells and allows Eric to drink even when Mr. Birling, who should actually be the one who is in charged with the decision is strongly disagreeing, 'I know - he's your son and this is your house - but look at him. He needs a drink now just to see him through.' The adjectives 'steadily', 'impressively' and 'gravely' are some of the examples used in the stage direction of the inspector in the play which describes and creates the way and effect of how calm and right the inspector is speaking. 'Distress', 'miserably' and 'uneasily' examples of adjectives used as stage direction for other characters which describes and suggests that they are upset, nervous and they speak with confession. The inspector is implacably focused on his enquiry and he is not easily diverted from other characters which keeps reminding them of the horrific details and make them unsettled. Rapidly it becomes clear that he is not actually a police inspector as he is more interested in moral judgements rather than criminal law, 'Public men, Mr. ...read more.


'Well, if he wasn't, it matters a devil of a lot. Makes all the difference.' 'No, it doesn't.' From the argument of Sheila and her father Mr. Birling with their different attitudes, the audience could tell that there are still some tensions present. Gerald and Mr. Birling work out that it need not have been the same girl. The tension rises at the end of the play as the family is falling apart and there are other mysteries coming up; they find out that the inspector is not really a police inspector, likewise Eva Smith and Daisy Renton is fake and made up which means that they did not actually kill her. However, they got another phone call from a police saying that a girl has committed suicide by swallowing some disinfectant and he is going to come along to ask some questions. It is just as the same as what the inspector Goole has said. There are a lot of unexpected questions at the end of this play which is why the play is full of tension, even when it is ended. The tension and mystery are far from resolved at the end of the play. Was it the same girl whom the characters mistreated? Who or what exactly was the inspector? Will the evening of interrogations be repeated by the police inspector on the way? The audience is left with realisation of the play, despite appearances, it is not a naturalistic murder mystery, but a vehicle for the playwright's socialist ideas of being responsible for each other. ?? ?? ?? ?? GCSE English 'An Inspector Calls' Mavis So ...read more.

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3 star(s)

The essay writer demonstrates a useful grasp of Priestley's use of "tension and mystery" in this play, using suitable references to illustrate points made. Key scenes are examined and the author's use of dramatic irony is carefully noted, particularly where he keeps the audience ahead of the characters in the unfolding of the plot.

Paragraph structure is mostly well managed but sentence construction is quite loose, with frequent grammatical mistakes. Lexis is generally adequate for the task, with some effective use of technical literary terms. Note that "Priestley" is consistently misspelt. The conclusion is rather brief; it should say more in summary of the general handling of "tension and mystery" and the manner in which Priestley uses them to serve his dramatic purpose.

3 stars

Marked by teacher Jeff Taylor 10/10/2013

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