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

How Does Priestley Build Up Dramatic Tension in Act 1 Of An Inspector Calls?

Extracts from this document...


How Does Priestley Build Up Dramatic Tension in Act 1 Of An Inspector Calls? Throughout the play, "An Inspector Calls" Priestley's main objective is to have the Inspector interrogate the Birlings and in doing this increase the tension of the play. Tension is created when two forces act against each other like an antagonistic pair and it creates a feeling of tightness or strain. To do this, Priestley uses a range of dramatic devices. In order to show the development of the tension, Priestley's key dramatic devices will be discussed. Prior to the play, Priestley heightens the tension by including stage directions in the script. Stage directions are how Priestley wanted the play to be set as it would be the best way of increasing the tension. Priestley writes: "The lighting should be pink an intimate until the Inspector arrives, and then it should be brighter and harder." This shows how the lighting will portray a comfortable and warm atmosphere and then when the Inspector arrives, the lights will change, startling the audience. ...read more.


When talking about the Titanic he mentions "absolutely unsinkable" and when talking about war Birling says:"Nobody wants war." The Titanic sank in 1912 and war began in 1914. Both were key events in British History and could be metaphors for the family. The Titanic sank like the morale of the family when the Inspector arrived and War destroyed Germany like the Inspector's allegations. This creates dramatic tension, as a contemporary audience knows how these events happened and ended in destruction. Priestley then focuses his attention on the in-script stage directions. In-script stage directions are adverbs to tell the actor how to say the text. This can be slowly or quickly, loud or soft. We find out the Inspector is coming due to a "sharp" ring of the doorbell. Everyone, especially Eric, becomes uneasy and Mr Birling becomes rather angry. Priestley writes; Eric (who is uneasy, sharply) and Birling (sharply, staring at him) This increases the tension as the audience notices this change in the characters speech. ...read more.


The fact that Eric aids the Inspector increases the tension further. Finally, Priestley uses the Inspector's entrance to bring the tension to boiling point. Priestley leaves the Act with the Inspector saying: "Well?" This has now exploded the tension for Act 1 and it is just after Gerald has admitted hid relationship to Daisy Renton and he thinks he can keep it from the Inspector. The "Well?" increases the tension as it could mean that the Inspector knows of Gerald's guilt as it is perfectly timed, just after Gerald had admitted his guilt in the poor girl's death. It could also mean that the Inspector knows that the family are holding something back and he is signalling for them to tell him. He could just as well have said "So?" but "Well?" is a longer word which could mean that he knows more than they think. In conclusion, the tension gradually increases throughout the Act as soon as the Inspector arrives. The Inspector brings dramatic devices such as the stage directions changing to make the characters uneasy and angry. His entrance creates tension as he leaves the Act with an intriguing "Well?" ...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. Marked by a teacher

    How does Priestley create dramatic tension in Act 1 of An Inspector Calls up ...

    3 star(s)

    Foreshadowing creates tension because it builds up to the arrival of Inspector Goole and creates the perfect environment for his arrival to have the best effect. Priestley used dramatic irony to express his interpretation on capitalist people.

  2. Compare the script of 'An Inspector Calls' to the filmed version

    He used many interesting sets one of which is shown below: But I won't be looking at the version done by Stephen Daldry I will be looking at the filmed version by the British Lion Corporation. To show the differences between the original script version and the filmed version I have categorised them into three groups.

  1. Show how in "An Inspector Calls" Priestley creates dramatic tension through focus on characters, ...

    She was pregnant with no husband or job. Daisy had no faith left in herself or society and killed herself in a terrible painful way by drinking strong disinfectant that "burnt her inside out". Inspector Goole is a mystery in the play, he appears as mysteriously as when he leaves.

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

    The play is in real time, this helps to build up the dramatic tension as there are a few seconds between each act. Priestley ends the acts with a high moment of drama so the audience is left waiting. The whole play is set in only one place, the Birling's dining room.

  1. How Does Priestly Build Up Tension at the ends of Acts 1 and 2 ...

    After this, we are told Sheila appears triumphant and Gerald seems crushed. This is reflected in the apparent power loss of Gerald and the gaining of power that Sheila seems to receive. The Inspector appears and says "Well?" The Act ends at this point, which leaves the audience wondering what will happen next.

  2. Discuss how Priestley creates dramatic tension during Gerald's and Mrs Birling's conversations with the ...

    This makes it interesting for the audience because they would want to see what Gerald has done wrong because he comes across as a nice young man at the beginning, the same for Mrs Birling; we would expect her to have such a cold heart.

  1. How does J.B. Priestley build dramatic tension up in the play 'An Inspector Calls"?

    This is purposely unobvious and can be seen as early as page three, in particular during stage directions such as 'half serious...' or 'trying to be light and easy.' The play becomes of real interest to the audience when "An Inspector Calls."

  2. JB Priestley ends each act on a note of high drama. Examine how tension ...

    During Mr. Birling's speech about Gerald and Sheila's engagement he says to Gerald "Your father and I have been friendly rivals in business for some time now - though Crofts Limited are both older and bigger than Birling and Company - and now you've brought us together, and perhaps we

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