• 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 J.B. Priestley create dramatic tension and suspense in Act One of "An ...

    As soon as he continues with the story from Eva's diary, Gerald, particularly, reveals he is keeping a secret from the others. The Inspector knew that Gerald kept "Daisy" (Eva) as his mistress, and Gerald wasted little time in showing himself up, by immediately questioning the fact that Eva changed

  1. Entrances and exits can provide many moments of dramatic tension in theatre. In An ...

    As the characters are left confused the atmosphere turns into tension due to each character having different feelings towards another character from what has been revealed thanks to the Inspector. This also effects the audience because we start wondering if it was the same girl and who was to blame for Evas' death the most.

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

    Birling is wholly concerned with protecting his reputation and his possible knighthood, " so long as we behave ourselves, don't get into the police court." He believes "a man has to look after himself - and his family too". When the Inspector arrives and Birling learns of the suicide he is decidedly dismissive and rather impatient.

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

    the name has anything do with him, the inspector reminds him that she was employed in his works at one time and shows him a photograph. Gerald and Eric are refrained from seeing the photograph; this proves to be a great annoyance to them both.

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

    it, because Gerald wanted her to have it and I imagine she would do anything to please him. Although Sheila appears pleased and content, at the beginning of the play she can't help to comment on the absence of Gerald the previous summer 'except for all last summer when you

  1. The Speckled Band Essay

    thought the gypsies were to blame for the "low whistle" in the dead of night and also because of the fact they were bandanas. These are used to keep the reader involved and also help to create unexpected events later on.

  2. Analyse the dramatic devices Priestley employs in "An Inspector Calls" to create tension and ...

    Within them he describes the Birlings to live in a ?fairly large suburban house? described as ?heavily comfortable?. He also describes objects such as "dessert plates" and "champagne glasses" as well as other expensive items showing them to be an upper class family in society.

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