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

Focus on the passage beginning (Gerald: Anyway we'll see) to the end of the play, "An Inspector Calls". How does Priestley create dramatic tension in this final scene?

Extracts from this document...


Focus on the passage beginning (Gerald: Anyway we'll see) to the end of the play, "An Inspector Calls". How does Priestley create dramatic tension in this final scene? Consider its significance in terms of: * Priestley's presentation of characters. * General themes of the play * The audience's response * Priestley's use of language and dramatic devices Priestley cleverly entwines many devices in order to create tension in the final scene of 'An Inspector Calls.' These devices help promote Priestley's didactic message of the need for unity in the community and the importance of accepting responsibility for our actions. Priestley's play concludes with an unexpected devised twist. The final scene is significant as it completes the story and indicates any change of behaviour in the characters. The Birling family has previously been disturbed and reminded of their dealings with Eva Smith. They are individually questioned by the Inspector and forced to explain their dealings with Eva Smith. In the last scene, Gerald phones the infirmary to confirm the tale of Eva Smith and to conclude the speculation of the Inspector being a fraud. They assume that they have not admitted to the exact same crime. The family cannot be sure that the picture privately shown to each individual, of Eva Smith, was of the same person. The characters and audience are awaiting a response indicating Eva Smith's fate. Immediately Priestley creates dramatic tension by the use of veiled conversation. It is designed to illustrate the truth surrounding Eva Smith's fate. Priestley cleverly conceals one side of the conversation from the Birlings and the audience. ...read more.


It frightens me the way you talk. BIRLING (heartily) Nonsense! You'll have a good laugh over it yet." Mr.Birling is quick to reassure and remind them of his 'one-man for himself' philosophy. Nevertheless when explaining his theory, at the end of the play, he is interrupted by a sharp telephone call. This is echoing the interruptive door bell found at the beginning of the play. This door bell also disrupts Mr.Birling's first explanation of his selfish philosophy; "-That a man has to look after his own business and look after himself and his own - and- we hear the sharp ring of a front door bell." This is deliberately repeated at the end of the play, to give it a circular feeling. It is to show that events are about to repeat themselves. This is important as Ouspensky's theory on time gives the older generation a second chance to change. Ouspensky's Philosophy is about to be refuted and imposed on by the Inspector, who, is Priestley's mouthpiece. He is here to convey socialist ideals of equality between classes and prove Mr.Birling's philosophy is morally wrong. The disruption of the bells gives the play a sense of beginning; then the ringing of the telephone also provides the play with an end. It increases the tension with sharp sounds and indicates a sudden and unexpected shift of events. Irony has a huge impact on the tension in this scene. It is shown through the older Birlings and Gerald who believe they know best yet, they know nothing at all. Priestley pokes fun at how little the older Birlings truthfully know. ...read more.


We are left to imagine that the next time round three of the characters will behave in precisely the same way again, but that Sheila and Eric may have learnt enough to change their actions for the better. The curtain is drawn and the dramatic tension still remains, this allows the audience to consult their moral consciences along wit the Birlings. The ending of the play is extremely powerful allowing the audience to make up their own mind and let them use their imagination and therefore reflect on their own lives. At first, the audience may be confused, perhaps this is because the play has ended extremely abruptly, however the reason for this extreme finish will all be made clear to the audience when they are forced to think deeper about the message portrayed throughout the play. Consequently they are given time to look at their own life. Dramatic tension is built up immensely in the final scene through characters, their actions and their personalities. The play contains many hints of Priestley's message but this is finally concluded at the end of the play. Priestley believed that 1945 was "probably the most crucial period in domestic British politics this century" maybe this is the reason why he decided to make a play so powerful and directed to change. "An Inspector Calls" may have been written with an immediate political purpose which was to encourage a Labour victory in the 1945 general election. The play may have been set in the past but its purpose was to look to the future, arguing strongly for a more positive society. ...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 Priestley use the Inspector as a dramatic device in "An Inspector Calls", ...

    Sheila tells Gerald: 'somehow he makes you'. But he does not control their reactions - he only uses his information about the girl's life and character, her diary and a letter, her photograph, and constant reminders of the horrific death she has suffered, to create the possibility for others to face up to what they have done.

  2. How does Priestley build dramatic tension at the end of Act two of An ...

    She tends to deny that some things are true for example Eric's heavy drinking. This shows that she wants her family to be perfect and feels ashamed to admit anything that is wrong. She is also prejudiced about working class people as when Eva Smith came to ask her for

  1. Entrances and exits can provide many moments of dramatic tension in theatre. In An ...

    it with a little cry, gives half-stifled sob', this again allows the play to progress even more because we, the audience, now get the feeling that Sheila knew Eva Smith and may even have had something to do with her death, just like her father did.

  2. Who is responsible for the death of Eva Smith? Pay close attention in your ...

    She'd impertinently made use of our name." "The story she told at first - about a husband who'd deserted her- was quite false." Sybil Birling comes over as an arrogant and domineering woman with little compassion. She not only refused help herself but made sure that the other members of the committee refused help too.

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

    Priestley deliberately makes the characters ignore this clue as the suspense needs to be kept until the end of the Act. Furthermore, Mrs Birling always seemed to have never believed Sheila when her daughter told her that Eric was a heavy drinker.

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

    Sheila seems to spot that its Eric midway down page 48 when she says with sudden alarm, "mother - stop - stop! Another dramatic device used by Priestley is in the last page of act 2 where all is revealed to all of the characters in the play.

  1. 'An Inspector Calls' - How does Priestley's presentation of the Inspector create dramatic tension ...

    The Inspector's name and appearance immediately creates tension when he walks on stage. The name 'Inspector Goole' has connotations with eerie things and the supernatural. The name 'Goole' reminds me of ghosts, monsters, supernatural, mystery and evil.

  2. Analyse the dramatic devices Priestley employs in "An Inspector Calls" to create tension and ...

    Henceforth, the description of her horrendous death is greatly emphasising the evil consequences of their actions where they didn?t realise their responsibility for people other than themselves. I feel Priestley uses this to show the urgency and importance that members of society take responsibility for each other.

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