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Inspector Calls Coursework

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Inspector Calls Examine Priestley's use of dramatic techniques to create tension in the play Priestly was a socialist writer, and 'An Inspector Calls' is one of the plays in which he tried to display his socialist ideals in. The play was written in the 1940's, a little after the end of the Second World War, and it was first performed in 1946, in Russia, then later in England. Priestly had served in World War 1, and the terrible scenes he saw lead to him having socialist views. He was inspired by other writers whose views he shared, especially George Orwell and H.G. Wells, both of whom references are made to in the opening pages of the play. A lot of the tension in the play is between Birling and the Inspector, both of who are powerful figures in the household and are both vying for dominance, creating a lot of tension. This is symbolic of the global struggle between capitalism and socialism, the Inspector represents Priestley's socialist views, and Birling, the antithesis of the Inspector represents capitalist views, which is made clear through his speech "the interests of Capital...steadily increasing prosperity." When the Inspector is there, Birling is very fast to drop the blame on someone else, insisting "I can't accept any responsibility" which is a complete contrast of what the Inspector says, telling the family to "share the blame among yourselves when I have left" This constant conflict, which is often at the heart of the dramatic genre itself, makes sure there is tension whenever the two characters are talking to each other. ...read more.


This creates tension because these points the audience want to know what is going to happen and by only using little pieces of information, Priestley is building up tension, it captures the audience's attention. The way Priestley slowly builds up to the Inspector's arrival on its own does not build up tension, but when the door bell rings there is not really any clue as to who it is, or why they are at this seemingly personal celebration of Sheila and Gerald's engagement. However, it is noticeable that Priestley puts in references to how capitalism is incorrect. A good example of this is during Birling's speech he says the Titanic is "unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable." And also "These silly little war scares" It says in the stage directions that it is a "sharp ring" and which makes "Birling stop to listen" This shows it must be of some importance because it actually stops him talking, which creates tension. The Inspector's introduction, announced by Edna "Please sir, an inspector's called" is rather low key, but it creates tension by hiding a lot of facts and keeping the Inspector anonymous for the moment. The stage directions read "he creates at once an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness." Immediately there is a more solemn atmosphere because as he creates an impression of massiveness, you wonder what he has come here for, why he is here in this seemingly nice and comfortable family home. ...read more.


However it is unlikely that Priestley wanted there to be too much tension in these areas, because they were probably not as important for giving his socialist views. A likely explanation for the play is that Priestly used dramatic technique to create tension when he wants to put important messages across to the audience, a good example of this being "fire and blood and anguish." However the end, whereas it does create tension it may not be pleasing to the audience, not what they wanted the ending to be which could limit the effectiveness of the dramatic technique used. Although not well reviewed by critics, it proved rather popular in the theatre which must have meant Priestley's use of dramatic technique to create tension did come over to the audience as effective. In conclusion it can be said that Priestley's use of dramatic techniques to create tension in the play was successful and well written. Although it is a well written play, it is slightly ruined by the fact it is trying to subliminally "brainwash" the audience into thinking capitalism is wrong and socialism is correct does ruin it slightly. It could be said that Priestley used the tension to put across his message in a more effective way, by drawing you into the belief that capitalism causes all the problems that Eva Smith, an analogy for the working class, suffered. Overall it can be said that Priestley successfully used dramatic techniques including: dramatic irony, good stage directions and keeping key facts from the audience to create tension effectively. ...read more.

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