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How does Priestley maintain the interest of the audience throughout An Inspector Calls?

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Introduction

How does Priestley maintain the interest of the audience throughout An Inspector Calls? J.B. Priestley uses several different literary techniques, that, when combined with the genre and characters within the play help to maintain the interest of the audience throughout the text. An example of one of the literary techniques that Priestley uses to capture the audiences is through the build up of suspense through the characters claimed innocence. This is clearly shown through Sheila's 'crime' in which she claims complete innocence and that she didn't even know the girl. This continues for quite a lengthy period of time and so is quite a shock to the audience when she finally confesses to playing a part in the girl's death. ...read more.

Middle

but very emotionally detached from the rest of the characters. Also, the Inspector seems to approach the case unlike any other police officer. He very methodically chooses each character to interview in a certain order, but withdraws and holds back on certain issues and facts. This almost keeps the audience in a reverse state of dramatic irony, where upon the characters know more than the people watching them. An example of this 'reverse' dramatic irony is shown through the photograph that the Inspector shows to some of the characters in the play, but not the audience. This is to heighten the tension of the moment that in turn captivates the audience. ...read more.

Conclusion

This leaves a substantial gap in the plot that gives the audience a sense of intrigue throughout the story. Due to the genre (a 'whodunit') the main portion of the interest that is generated is through the suspense of the plot. Through the use of suspense tactics and twists in the plot, Priestley makes sure that the audience never quite knows what to expect from the story. Overall the key factor within the text that captivates the audiences attention is that of the characters. They are not wholly revealed to us straight away and the 'little by little' process that Priestley goes through to pick apart the family and their roles heightens the tension, suspense and ultimately the audience's interest. ...read more.

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