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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?

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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