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How Does J.B Priestly Use Dramatic Devices To Shock & Entertain The Auidence In 'An Inspector Calls..'

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How Does J.B Priestly Use Dramatic Devices To Build Tension? J.B Priestly was born on 13th September 1894 near Bradford, England. His mother died the year he was born and his father was a teacher. After leaving school, age 16, he started to write. In 1910 he began work as a junior clerk at a wool firm. Priestly often found himself indulged into political conversations with his fathers friends. He joined the infantry in 1904 at age 20 but then left in 1919 after front line service in France. Priestly said he was 'Lucky' to have been enabled the opportunity to fight in the war, even after he was injured by mortar fire. After returning from the infantry Priestly studied to get a degree in modern history at Cambridge University, finishing this degree in 1921. Alongside 'An Inspector Calls', Priestly also wrote many other plays and novels such as 'Dangerous Corner' and 'Angel Pavement'. An Inspector Calls was written in 1946, after the Second World War had ended. The play itself, a thriller, was set in 1912, a time when society was very different, from a hindsight. At this time there was a great dispute between communism and capitalism. ...read more.


The use of revealing secrets creates tension; it creates this by causing the audience to think that the inspector could make any of the other characters reveal their secrets. The leading up to the revelation of the secrets creates tension because the inspector always is in control of the questioning and prompts the characters into revealing the secrets, 'I think you remember Eva Smith now, don't you, Mr. Birling'. It also leads the audience further into thinking that the inspector knows everything. However, it may also create tension by the audience thinking that these revealed secrets could be hiding deeper secrets. One other device Priestly uses to create tension is the use of inappropriate behavior. One example of this is Gerald's affair, "I'm sorry Sheila, But it was all over and done with last summer", this creates tension because it shocks the audience as an affair was seen as inappropriate and unacceptable in the time in which the play was set. Another example of inappropriate behavior creating tension is Eric's excessive drinking, "We were having a little party - and I have had a few drinks". This creates tension because it shocks the audience because of the fact that a higher class man would over excessively drink this was seen to be more of a working or lower class thing to do. ...read more.


The ending of act one creates tension. It creates this by ending the act on a cliffhanger; 'Well?'. This creates tension because it makes the audience ask themselves questions. These questions could include 'What will be the reply' or they may even try to answer these questions themselves in the interval. This could also give the audience the suspicion that the Inspector knows something that the other characters do not, this building tension and shocking the audience. The audience could also develop a speculative suspicion from this that there could be secrets between characters. J.B Priestly uses all of these dramatic devices to build tension among the characters and the audience. Personally I think that the use of dramatic irony to create tension is the least effective of the dramatic devices. I think this because the irony was not very clear compared to the other devices. However, in 1946 the irony may have been clearer as the people watching the play would know how the recent events unfolded. I also think that the use of lighting is the most successful at building tension of the dramatic devices. I think this because the lighting is visual and therefore the most obvious and dramatic change, creating a great deal of tension among the audience. Overall I think that Priestly successfully uses all these dramatic devices to build tension throughout the play. ...read more.

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