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

How Does JB Priestly Create Tension?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How does J.B Priestley create atmosphere and tension in Act I of 'An Inspector Calls'? J.B Priestley's play, 'An Inspector Calls', includes many techniques to create tension. Written in 1945, but set before the first world war, irony is present as Priestley subtly mocks the audience, as he uses Birling to explore the faults of capitalism. In 1946, when the play was first performed, the stereotypical spectator to the post-war play would have been those typically of Birling's societal class. In contrast to his own personal beliefs, Priestley creates Birling to be a strict capitalist, common to the period in which the play was set. Dramatic irony is established as the audience know the outcomes of Birling's ignorant predictions in Act I Scene I. Priestley wrote the play to show the divisions between the classes before the war, and the general middle class person's disposition; ignorant, impatient, and selfish. Priestley manipulates stage directions, such as lighting, props and setting to create tension. As an example of this, in the primary scene, as the Inspector enters, the lighting is brighter, as though the family are under spot light interrogation. Characterisation, the integration between characters and how we perceive them, as well as the language they use, can create tensional suspense by revealing only elements of an individual's personality at a time. ...read more.

Middle

Tension is built up between the pair when Birling persists in 'cutting in' to the Inspector. Additionally, whereas Birling is acquiring an angrier tone throughout the interview, the Inspector has a steady ambience all the way through. Birling has an entirely different relationship with his son-in law Gerald, though. Birling is almost sucking up to Gerald, as he and Gerald's father are in the same business. He even states that Gerald could have done better for himself than Sheila. This shows some cracks in the family unit, and reveals Birling's desperation for success. Sheila and Gerald's relationship also sparks some tension within the household. It's is obvious that their relationship lacks the bonding and trust it should possess, seeing as they are engaged. Sheila says 'Now I really feel engaged' on receiving the ring, suggesting that she didn't feel like that before. This is also collaborated when Sheila mentions last summer, when she didn't see Gerald much. He says he was on business, to which she replies 'That's what you say'. Gerald goes on to admit his guilt near to the end of the act, but insists that that the Inspector doesn't have to know about it. The Inspector's intelligence goes further than he is currently letting on, which Sheila is aware of, so she replies '(laughs...hysterically)...he knows... ...read more.

Conclusion

The Inspector says 'Well?' to Sheila and Gerald after they have had a discussion outside, and discovered Gerald's deceitfulness. It was almost as if the Inspector knew what they were discussing, and was waiting for them to uncover it themselves. This adds to the atmosphere because it seems like the Inspector knows all that he needs to, he is simply trying to make the family realise that just because they have money, doesn't mean they are any different to anyone else of a lower class. In conclusion, J.B Priestley uses many techniques to create atmosphere and tension in Act I Scene I. Stage directions are used by, for instance, Birling, as he shows his true character by interrupting others and possessing an angry tone. Lighting is used to symbolise the change of mood and presence, adjusting to the new balance of characters onstage. The Inspector himself brings a number of unanswered questions with him, some unconnected to his case, with his name and manner. The language and actions also contribute to the shift of atmosphere in the scene, by revealing extensions of each character bit by bit. Subtle hints from Priestly, alongside the climax of the scene, bring additional tension and suspense, as the audience can get involved with what's going on. The details of the scene are what really consume the audience, enveloping them with interest and intrigue, so they can perceive events how they wish, to generate tension of their own. ...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 J.B Priestly create dramatic tension in Act 1 of "An Inspector Calls"?

    There is also conflict between Shelia and Gerald this is created when the Inspector wants to talk to Gerald about Eva Smith. This creates tension because Shelia and Gerald are engaged and this could destroy their relationship. Gerald would like to talk to the Inspector privately, not when Shelia is around.

  2. How does J.B. Priestley create dramatic tension and suspense in Act One of "An ...

    Birling also uses the port to try and impress Gerald, because he is insecure about his current social status compared to his wife (or even Gerald himself). Sheila's engagement ring is another essential prop- Gerald chose it without asking Sheila which one she wanted first, which shows that Gerald is in charge of the relationship, as previously mentioned.

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

    Mr. Birling is described as 'a heavy-looking, rather portentous man in his middle fifties with family easy manners but rather provincial in his speech', this suggests that he's an arrogant, egotistic man who is however, unsophisticated.

  2. How does priestly create tension in act 1 of An Inspector Calls?

    Inspector Goole clearly separates himself from the likes of the Birlings when he refuses to have a glass of port when offered by Mr.

  1. How Does J.B Priestley Create Tension in 'An Inspector Calls'?

    Sheila and her mother's relationship deteriorates throughout the play. For example in act 1 Sybil is calling Sheila "darling". The use of this term of endearment indicates that at this point in the play there is little or no tension between them. Later in the play Sheila says "mother, I think it was cruel and vile", showing that she is very angry with her mother.

  2. An inspector calls is set in entirely one room. How does priestley create and ...

    This is therefore a cliff-hanger because the audience want to know how Eric's secret will unravel. Another example is when priestly writes there 'inquiring stares' this makes the rest of the family seem like they have all ganged up on Eric this could make the audience feel sorry for him because they already know it was him.

  1. How does Priestly create suspense and tension at the end of act 2 of ...

    Her vindictive attitude to the father of Eva's child changes instantly when she soon learns that the father is her own darling innocent little boy Eric, this clearly portrays her excessive hypocrisy. She tries to frighten the Inspector with her husband's social class but this fails and she becomes paranoid, and criticizes her husband for beginning it by sacking her.

  2. How does Priestley create tension in the play through characterisation, structure and atmosphere?

    He looks up to his father, although he tries not to show this factor he prefers people to think that he is solely his own person and not influenced by anyone. Really though inside underneath his tough acting he is probably a loving, sensitive caring man.

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