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The inspector in "an inspector calls" by J.B Priestly plays a crucial role in the drama creating tension and mystery by forcing the family to face up to there responsibility.

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Introduction

The inspector in "an inspector calls" by J.B Priestly plays a crucial role in the drama creating tension and mystery by forcing the family to face up to there responsibility. How does the playwright create this tension and mystery and explain how you would direct the actor playing the inspector to bring these traits out. This play is a classical detective story with a great twist; essentially we observe the results of a death before the death has occurred, so the element of the supernatural takes an essential part in the storyline. Priestly wrote the story in the 1940's, during the Second World War and perhaps provided entertainment in a time where people were under psychological impact of war, and so this story gave people a chance to relax and read a tale of a bygone era. Themes such as social responsibility and community often relate to what is going on in the play. It was a capitalist society where the rich people owned many successful businesses and there main aim was to make as much profit possible. Times were much more difficult if you poor because there was no welfare state and therefore employers had more control over workers as workers completely relied upon them for their livelihoods. The social, historical and cultural background affected the way the play has been written. ...read more.

Middle

Mr Birling is hesitant "this girl left us nearly two years ago", he is afraid there might be a public scandal and he will not find his "way into the next honours list". Priestly has used a variety of techniques to create tension; he uses tension to build cliffhangers. The inspector pauses many times and silence passes. "(After a pause...) well what is it then?" the pause creates tension and lets the audience know when something is wrong. The inspector's character is calm and very tranquil; at one point in the play he loses his temper "and be quiet for a moment and listen to me". The aggression of the inspector lets the audience know immediately something terrible has gone wrong. The lack or presence of light can create tension, as it is the beginning of a build up to a major event. The whole play is set in one room, this symbolises that the Birlings have no escape route and they will receive their punishment. The way the children speak to their parents at the end of the play even though they rang up the infirmary and found out there were no suicide deaths for months creates tension. It is almost as if they know something the others don't and they realise there mistakes, it leads the audience to believe something is about to happen, "you're pretending everything's just as it was before". ...read more.

Conclusion

We don't live alone we are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will soon come when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish. Good night" these are the last words of the inspector and so are very important. They will be spoken in a loud voice but quietening down when he says "and I tell you that the time will soon come when" and the tempo and volume of the inspector's voice will increase for effect. Mystery is spread throughout the whole play but it reaches its highest point towards the end of the play when we realise there is a twist in the story and Eva Smith is not yet dead. This raises questions on who was the inspector and how could he have known that Eva Smith was about to commit suicide. The inspector's name was "Goole", this relates to ghoul, which is a ghost. Many people believe he was a ghost. The photograph shown to each of the characters may have been different and so they do not really know if they have all contributed to the death of Eva Smith. " I haven't much time" is the words of the inspector, as he knows that Gerald is about to come back with news of him not being a real inspector. ...read more.

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