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Tension in An Inspector Calls

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James Trebilco 10D/V An Inspector Calls In the play 'An Inspector Calls', J.B Priestly successfully maintains tension. I intend to show how he has done this by using quotes and stage directions from the play as well as relating the play to similar texts and political and social backgrounds of the time. Priestly uses his characters to keep the audience captivated. Arthur Birling is a prosperous manufacturer. He is a pompous and solemn man. He's in his mid-fifties. Sybil Birling is also about fifty years old and seems to have come from a family with a higher social position than her husband. She is austere and cold. Their daughter Sheila Birling is pretty and in her twenties and she is pleased with her life. Eric Birling isn't very sure of himself. He's in his twenties. Gerald Croft, a very confident man, has just become engaged to Sheila. As soon as Inspector Goole a purposeful and impressive character enters he makes a big impression on the audience and the family. The level of conflict alters as the play goes on. It starts off with low levels where, Eric questions some of the points raised by Arthur but is overpowered by him. The older generation feel it's their duty to advise the children. When the inspector is interviewing Arthur, Eric sides with the workers. He doesn't understand why they couldn't have more money. ...read more.


Mr. Birling thinks to himself that he is "the bee's knees" this annoys the audience, but he is made to look like a fool by the two comments of dramatic irony made at the beginning of the play about the Titanic being unsinkable ". . ,she sails next week - forty six thousand eight hundred tons and unsinkable" This is a motif it is explaining how the middle class was so solid, like steel and how the expectations were so high. And then all of a sudden it sank. He also comments on the political issues of the Britain - Germany conflict " The Germans won't go to war" and " There'll be peace and prosperity and rapid progress everywhere." (Pg 7) His character is made worse by showing his values, by saying to Gerald "You're just the kind of son-in-law I always wanted."(Pg 4) He shows how important money and class are to him. "There'll be a public scandal" showing how Birling is very worried about his position in society. At the beginning of the play the Inspector calls when they are all in a safe environment, they have just eaten so they feel happy and content, they are familiar with their surroundings. By entering here it is easy to interview each character because the setting doesn't have to be thought of and so isn't distracting, when the Inspector rings the doorbell they are unsettled. ...read more.


Though out of the characters the adults have the most pride. 2 - Sloth - this is portrayed by Eric who is the "silly boy" he is totally cared for just spending his fathers money as he wishes almost. 3 - Gluttony - this again is a combined effort of the whole class but by the figure of Birling and the fact he is mean with his wages he would be the main culprit of this. 4 - Envy - Sheila has this for "the girl" when she is in the clothes store. Inspector - " So in a way you were jealous?" Sheila - " Yes I suppose I was." (Pg 24) 5 - Lust - Gerald and Eric were the two holders they fancied the two different aliases of "the girl". 6 - Anger - Birling was angry with "the girl" after the proposal for a pay rise and also with Eric when he asked for the money to pay off his "debts". 7- Covetousness - the whole class again are stealing from the lower class but also Mrs. Birling stole or deprived "the girl" of some money/benefit that she needed to stay alive. In the play "An Inspector Calls" J.B. Priestly maintains tension and keeps the audience captivated by using a wide selection of dramatic techniques for example dramatic irony. He befriends the audience and so sways the way they think. The audience likes the fact that it was more of a "whodunit", they want to find out who it was who drove her to her death. ...read more.

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