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How does JB Priestly create atmosphere and tension in Act 1 of 'An Inspector Calls'?

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Introduction

How does JB Priestly create atmosphere and tension in Act 1 of 'An Inspector Calls'? The play 'An Inspector Calls' is set in April 1912, however was written in 1945, by JB Priestly. J.B Priestly was born on September 13th 1894 in Yorkshire; Priestly joined the infantry when the First World War commenced, and subsequent to it he gained a degree at Cambridge University. Priestly broadcasted a widely popular radio programme during World War II, which was cancelled due to a number of complaints claiming they were too left wing, in 1942 he co-founded the socialist Common Wealth Party. The fact that the play is set in 1912 is significant is due to the fact that there were strong distinctions between the upper and lower classes, however in 1945, when the play was written, class distinctions decreased as a result of the two world wars. The Act begins in the dining room of the Birling house hold, and they are celebrating the engagement of Sheila Birling and Gerald Croft, the meal is however interrupted by an Inspector, Inspector Goole, he begins talking about a one Eva Smith and her relationships with several of the people dining at the table. ...read more.

Middle

When Mr. Birling says to Gerald, 'it's exactly the same port your father gets', we see Mr. Birling is attempting to impress Gerald, this shows that Mr. Birling is aware of his social superiors, and portrays Mr. Birling as someone who adulates his them. Mrs Birling is described as 'about fifty, a rather cold woman and her husband's social superior'; this shows she is a braggart and similarly to Mr. Birling, arrogant. Tension is created through the use of characterisation; the audience will begin to dislike these two characters from the first scene. Sheila, the fianc�e of Gerald, tells him in response to his stories of him being busy with work during the summer, 'Yes, that's what you say'; this creates tension through the use of language, as it doubts her trust in him, and raises the question to the audience on the stability of their relationship. Birling gives a speech telling everyone how Gerald and Sheila are 'marrying at a very good time', and claims how, 'We employers at last are coming together to see that our interests - and the interests of Capital - are properly protected', ...read more.

Conclusion

atmosphere, however on the contrary is showing he has doubt about his marriage, this will intrigue the audience since they will try to foresee if Gerald and Sheila are engaged by the end of the play. The last line before Act 2 is said by the Inspector; 'Well?', the use of a slightly intimidating, short line is a dramatic climax, which builds up tension in preparation for the next act. J.B Priestly creates tension through various different approaches in Act 1 of 'Inspector Calls', these include; through stage directions, such as lighting and setting; language, such as moods and irony; and actions such as gestures. I believe J.B Priestly has chosen Mr. Birling as one of his key access' into expressing the flaws in Capitalism through language techniques, particularly dramatic irony. Mr. Birling also appears to, intentionally or unintentional, create tension between himself and the other characters, including Gerald, Sheila and Inspector Goole. The name 'Goole' sounds like the word 'ghoul', which I feel is a hint from J.B Priestly that the inspector is a ghost, or at least, a ghostly figure. ?? ?? ?? ?? Nick Diplos 10BN ...read more.

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