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How is tension created in Act 3 of 'An Inspector Calls' and how it would be shown on stage production

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How is tension created in Act 3 of 'An Inspector Calls' and how it would be shown on stage production? 'An Inspector Calls' is a twentieth century drama written by J.B. Priestly in 1947 but takes place in 1912. This story is about the Birling family celebrating their daughter, Sheila's engagement to Gerald Croft. A few pages into the story, an Inspector called Goole which means 'spirit in death' interrogates the family and the story of Eva's death unfolds. As it progresses each character realises their connection to her tragic death. Behind this story there are many meanings or points that Priestly wanted to get across, especially his views on socialists and capitalists. A socialist is somebody who believes in and supports socialism or socialists party. Inspector Goole's character portrays Priestly's views on socialists but on the other hand Mr Birling is against the ideas of socialists and is a prime example of a capitalist. A Capitalist is a wealthy person, especially somebody made rich by capitalism and considered to be avaricious. The story was based in 1912, right before the 1st and 2nd world war, The Labour Strikes, The sinking of the Titanic and The Suffragettes. Parts of Mr Birling's speeches create dramatic irony as the Titanic did sink and the war did happen. In 'An Inspector Calls' tension is created in many ways. It can be created by stage directions and the characters use of language. ...read more.


He also uses cluster of three's such as "Fire blood and anguish", "think say and do" to build and effective ending. These are aimed at the Birling family, particularly make them realise that the world does not revolve around them. Tension is also build by dramatic entrances and exits. At the beginning of at three Eric enters after the discussion of his involvement with Eva Smith. The stage direction state "Exactly as at the end of Act Two, Eric is standing just inside the room and the others are staring at him". Eric's entrance suddenly makes us assume that he is going do say or do something by the other characters reactions. Tension slowly rises as the characters look at Eric waiting for a response. He suddenly adds a line to the situation "You know don't you?" Tension creeps up further as the audience want to know what the family know about Eric's and Eva's relationship. There's a break after the second scene and the audience are wondering what's Eric's affairs with Eva; this has increased the tension scale. In other areas of the play, Gerald's return after the inspector's integrations with the Birlings is written in a clever way. The door rings and both the Birlings and audience are nervous about who it is. Mr Birling offers to get the door but Mrs Birling answers by letting Edna opening it. ...read more.


The twist at the end shocked the audience as they found out that Eva smith wasn't dead from the first place but find out that she is. This long process of the Inspector interrogating has made the audience realise about the messages that Priestly is trying to give. As the inspector wasn't a real one, I suggest that he was a spirit because his name means "spirit of death", and he was the spirit of Eva's death. He could be Eva's guardian angel. In conclusion tension created in Act 3 has been created by the characters use of language and stage exits and entrances for example when Eric returned just in time for the inspector to interrogate him and how it connected to his mother story. Priestly adding a final suspension to the play; which was the phone ring at the end made it a really good cliff hanger. If it were to be put on stage production and to create dramatic tension, they would have to bring the characters out from the book and portray their personalities. By using dramatic entrances and exit in the right places would create tension for instance Eric's entrance. The actor who plays the inspector would have to be confident but blunt, manipulative and show no emotion. By this, this will create tension as the audience would want to know who the inspector is. Finally I think that Priestly's play was a smart way of portraying the socialism, capitalism and politics in the world. ...read more.

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