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JB Priestley ends each act on a note of high drama. Examine how tension is developed towards the end of each act and the way language and dramatic devices are used to reveal his political message.

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Introduction

English Coursework "An Inspector Calls" JB Priestley ends each act on a note of high drama. Examine how tension is developed towards the end of each act and the way language and dramatic devices are used to reveal his political message. JB Priestly lived during the early 20th Century, a time of great global change. He wrote "An Inspector Calls" after the First World War and, like much of his work, contains controversial, politically charged messages. Keen to pioneer a new 'morality' in politics, Priestley's chief concerns involved social inequality in Britain and the need for nuclear disarmament. Priestley presents his arguments clearly through interesting characters, with very different views and a powerful story line with major consequences to individual actions. In this essay, I will be discussing how tension is developed towards the end of each act and the way language and dramatic devices are used to reveal Priestley's political message. John Boynton Priestley was a journalist, novelist, playwright and essayist, born in Yorkshire in 1894. In the 1930s Priestley became increasingly concerned about social problems, and in 1941 he became the chairman of the 1941, publishing a report that called for public control of the railways, mines and docks and a national wages policy. A further report in May 1942 argued for works councils and the publication of "post-war plans for the provision of full and free education, employment and a civilized standard of living for everyone." Later that year, the members of the committee established the socialist Common Wealth Party. The party advocated the three principles of Common Ownership, Vital Democracy and Morality in Politics. "An Inspector Calls" was written in 1945, just after the Second World War, where people were recovering from 6 years of warfare, danger and doubt. However, the play is set in 1912, two years before the First World War would begin. Furthermore, in 1912, there were strong distinctions between the upper and lower classes of that era but as a result of the two world wars, this was somewhat significantly reduced. ...read more.

Middle

Furthermore, towards the end, he seems to be in quite a rush: he stresses "I haven't much time". This could be because he knows the real inspector is about to arrive. He could even be the voice of Priestley, this is suggested in the way he talks and airs his political views, very unlike a police inspector, leading us also to believe he is not an inspector at all. Moreover, he is in control of the characters from Act 1 all the way through to Act 3, working systematically, revealing one story at a time. This is how the Inspector adds to the tension in the play and he is essential to keeping the characters and audience on their feet and anxious about what is going to happen next. The Inspector's exit at the end of Act 1 is another way in which he seems omniscient; it's almost as if he knows what Sheila will say to Gerald when they are left together in the room, as it is evident there is high tension between the pair. Sheila, showing perceptiveness, takes up the role of inspector, questioning Gerald about how he knew "Daisy Renton". It turns into an argument and, when Gerald starts to explain his affair with the girl, the Inspector returns with "well" - just in time for the confession. In this part of the act, we see Sheila Birling becoming more mature; she is not angry when she finds out about the affair, she says she respects his honesty. Also, she seems like the only character who really knows how the Inspector works and, in a way, she becomes the Inspector's accomplice when questioning Gerald. Moreover, just before the Inspector comes back in, she says to Gerald "...He knows. Of course he knows" and "No, he is giving us rope - so that we will hang ourselves", showing how Sheila begins to understand what is happening through Inspector Goole's approach. Act Two then begins, exactly the same as Act One ended. ...read more.

Conclusion

Further tension is released, as Birling, set on proving his innocence completely, rings the infirmary. They tell him there has not been a suicide for months and this releases even more tension. At this news, Birling, Mrs Birling and Gerald are even happy, which is suggested by the stage direction. They are "triumphant" and "smiling" and "laughing". However, Sheila still seems traumatised, "You're forgetting one thing I still can't forget. Everything we said had happened really had happened. If it didn't end tragically, then that's lucky for us. But it might have done" and "it frightens me the way you talk". Whilst in the middle of this argument between Sheila and the others the phone rings and Birling answers the phone to find out that a second Inspector is on his way and that what they thought was just a hoax was in fact true. Ending the play on this cliff-hanger makes the audience want to watch more and find out what happens next. It also keeps them thinking about the play and its meaning afterwards. 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. In this way, "An Inspector Calls" is very relevant to today's society where people still do need to work together and help others in need. J.B. Priestley effectively uses many dramatic devices in "An Inspector Calls", such as symbolism and timings. He applies them in order to portray his political views, using an upper class, Edwardian family to do so. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sasha Jhalli 1 ...read more.

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