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Priestley structures his play to ensure that it ends on a note of high drama. How does he ensure the audience feels this tension in the final scene of the play?

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Introduction

English Coursework G.C.S.E English Literature Assignment. 'An Inspector Calls' J.B.Priestley. Priestley structures his play to ensure that it ends on a note of high drama. How does he ensure the audience feels this tension in the final scene of the play? In this essay I will be exploring the way J.B Priestley structures his play to ensure that the audience feels the tension in the final scene. To do this, I will focus specifically on the different techniques he uses such as dialogue, characterisation, stage settings and its historical context. Furthermore I will analyse the character of Inspector Goole, what his purpose was and how Priestley used him as the catalyst of the play. In addition the essay will also look at the impact Inspector Goole has on the audience by the end of the play. The character of Inspector Goole is the mystery note in the play. He is described as creating '' an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness...He speaks carefully, weightidly and has a disconcerting habit of looking hard at the person before actually speaking.'' These adjectives display a sombre and imposing character. As a result of the qualities of his character, the Inspector's presence consistantly improves and is sustained throughout the play. This is conveyed as through all the Inspector's enquiries, he has consistantly remained entirely in control. ...read more.

Middle

Priestley was successful in clearly portraying to the audience the contrast Sheila represents to the attitude of her father's. While Arthur Birling sees the funny side of things and wants to get back to what they were doing, Sheila is shocked by her parents behaviour and remains disturbed by what Inspector Goole has revealed about them all. The stage settings is a crucial factor that influences a certain mood that you are trying to create. In this case I will set the stage in the following manner to ensure that the audience feels the tension in the last scene of this play. At the beginning of the play, the characters Mrs Birling, Mr Birling, Gerald, Sheila and Eric will be seated around the large dining room table. The lighting should be soft and intimate this will help to reinforce the initially relaxed mood as they are having a family celebration. In addition, there should be a soft background melody to influence the 'rose tinted' mood that is being created. There after, with the inspector's arrival, lighting should become brighter and harsher as this is when the events of the play take their dramatic course and moods become less relaxed. In the last scene Eric and Sheila should be isolated away from Mrs Birling, Mr Birling and Gerald. ...read more.

Conclusion

At the last moment Preistley adds his final twist to the play, as Arthur answers the telephone only to hear the fateful news that an inspector is about to arrive about a girls suicide. The characters are left dunbfounded in the realization that they are aboute to repeat the evening's events. The ending is the anti-climax of the play. It is cleverly done, so it is left to the audience to decide who (what) Inspector Goole was and what happens to the family next. This sort of ending makes the audience less comfortable. It is written in a way that it seems as though the play is about to begin again, that is an Inspector is about to call. Moreover Priestley was successful in ensuring that the audience feels the tension in the last scene by structuring the play so that there is a final twist in the dramatic action. He used his play tactfully in order to convey the consequences of the seven deadly sins an every day person would likely to committ. These are sloth, gluttony,envy, covetousness, lust and anger; all of which the Birling family were involved in. We could say that this was the sole purpose of the play. To arouse the awareness of the wrong doings of the audience, which could end up causing someone else huge suffering; much like Eva Smith. ...read more.

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