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

In this essay I am going to explore the ways in which J.B. Priestley creates tension in the play; An Inspector Calls.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

An Inspector Calls How Does Priestley Create Tension in the Play In this essay I am going to explore the ways in which J.B. Priestley creates tension in the play; An Inspector Calls. The author introduces dramatic devices, language and themes in order to create tension between the characters and importantly; to keep the audience engaged. He uses stage directions and the entrances and exits of characters to create tension also. An Inspector Calls was written in 1945, however was set in 1912, before the first and second World Wars, the sinking of the Titanic and the introduction of women's rights. Priestley uses his personal experience of politics and war to write a dramatically successful, moralistic play. In Act One tension is created between the Birlings before the arrival of Inspector Goole when Sheila says to Gerald, "except for all last summer, when you never came near me". A comma is used here to create a dramatic pause, this keeps the audience engaged as during the dramatic pause the audience are on the edge of their seats, wondering what Sheila is going to reveal about Gerald. The use of the word "never" emphasises Sheila's point, so does the use of "near". This arouses suspicion of Gerald, particularly within the audience, and keeps them guessing as to what Gerald had been doing last summer. ...read more.

Middle

Dramatic irony is also used in many ways as a dramatic device. It is used to promote the Inspector yet mock Mr Birling. In Birling's speech at the beginning of the play, he proudly states that "as a hard-headed businessman" he thinks that "there isn't a chance of war" and that the Titanic is "absolutely unsinkable". With the play being published after two world wars and the sinking of the Titanic, Priestley makes the audience believe that Birling is a fool and wishes to broadcast how pretentious some middle class people can be. Whereas the Inspector, who states in his final speech that "they will be taught in fire and blood and anguish" indicating that there will be a war, is elevated by the use of dramatic irony. This makes the audience believe the socialist views of the Inspector instead of the 'foolish' views of Birling. The Inspector uses harsh language here and lists three powerful words; he does this in order to get to the Birlings and also addresses the audience as a whole; warning them of their actions and painting long lasting images in their minds, this contrast in language and character between Birling and the Inspector is a vital process of creating tension. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another example of a well timed entrance of the Inspector is when he enters just after Birling's speech, as if to discredit everything Birling has just said. In conclusion, the fact that a meaningful message is represented would indicate that An Inspector Calls, as well as being a murder mystery, in the way that Priestley uncovers the story of the death of Eva Smith, is also a moralistic play. Priestley shows the audience how not to live their lives, using dramatic devices to demonstrate this. He makes the audience contemplate over the fact that they are actually "members of one body" and that they are all "responsible for one another" and has made them realise that socialism is the way forward instead of capitalism. Weighing up the evidence, we can see that An Inspector Calls is very relevant in today's society where people do still need to work together and help others in need. J.B.Priestley effectively uses many dramatic devices to create tension in An Inspector Calls, such as dramatic pauses, dramatic irony and timings. He applies them in order to portray his political views, using an upper class, Edwardian family to do so. Priestley's knowledge and experience are taught to the audience/readers of the play in order to help them to see how to live their lives and treat others, therefore helping to create a more peaceful, idealistic world. Jake Scaddan 10L ...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. In what ways does Priestley explore responsibility in An Inspector Calls?

    need to use collective responsibility in order to maintain peace in the world. If we don't then it could result in a war, because personal suffering or as in this case someone is committing suicide. Priestley achieves this by such statements as: '...it would do us all a bit of

  2. How does Priestley explore the theme of responsibility in the play, An Inspector Calls?

    When he realises his son, Eric, had stolen from the company his main concern is not to help his son but to "cover this up". Priestley has made Mr. and Mrs. Birling the mouthpieces of all he criticises in the play.

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

    He also tells Sheila not to get too excited and to control herself; again J.B. Priestley is using irony as Eric is the one who needs to be controlled. When the Inspector arrives, the stage directions describe the impression he makes, which is one "of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness."

  2. An Inspector Calls. Explore the social and political views of the Birlings and the ...

    wanted a higher pay rise as they try for the highest prices. Eric thinks that what Mr Birling did was very unfair and was only for his own good. Additionally, we can see that Eric doesn't have a strong relationship with his own father, since his father is a more of a socialist and political person compared to his son.

  1. The Speckled Band Essay

    it", this make the reader think of towards what will happen later on in the story. We can tell what time the story was written by picking out some of the language from the text, such as when we learn of Miss Stoner travelling to Holmes office part of the

  2. Essay on "An Inspector Calls" by J.B. Priestley

    He used repletion to make the speech meaningful, "We don't live alone. We are...one body. We are responsible for each other." Also these are short sentences for slowing down the pace and creating an uncomfortable pause, therefore making the speech more effective and dramatic.

  1. 'An Inspector Calls' is based in 1912, before the first and second world war, ...

    He wanted everyone to be treated equally despite their class and social background. Eric is the son of the family and starts off the play by being quite quiet and making the occasional sarcastic comment. He obviously doesn't take his family seriously, laughing and making fun of Sheila, you can

  2. How does Priestley create suspense and tension at the end of Act 2 of ...

    With these points, we can speculate on Priestley's intention. How does he want the audience to react to these characters by implementing the mentioned points into the play? He wants the audience to feel sympathy for Eva while disliking Mrs Birling for pushing Eva to her death. I think he wants the audience to think of the Inspector as

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