In “An Inspector Calls”, during the extract, Priestley uses tension to create a dramatic scene. Tension is an important part of the play as in many situations, such as when the audience finds out about Eva Smith’s death, it leads to feelings like guilt and shameful confessions, among the characters.
At the start of the extract, Priestley creates dramatic tension when Mrs Birling says, “ Certainly. And he ought to be dealt with very severely-.” Certainly shows that Mr Birling believes the man who was responsible for impregnating Eva Smith and stealing money for her was entirely at fault and should receive all the punishments associated with her death. However, Mrs Birling is interrupted abruptly when Sheila shrieks: “(with sudden alarm) Mother- stop- stop!” This suggests that Mrs Birling made a grave error by saying what she said, as an “alarm” is usually extremely loud and only activates in dangerous situations. Also, they are normally red, the model colour of danger. Therefore, the audience realises that Sheila is warning Mrs Birling, creating dramatic tension because this is one of the first clues that the man might not just be anybody, but someone significant; Eric Birling in this case. She is encouraging the prosecution of her own son, making a great deal of tension. Perhaps Priestley is pointing out the fact that it is wrong for the upper class to be selfish, and inspiring that there should be more collective responsibility, as Mrs Birling shifts all the blame off herself, which in turn leads to devastating consequences.
Moreover, Priestley generates a great deal of dramatic irony when finally Mrs Birling realises that Eric was the culprit- “(understandi...
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...or the anxiousness of the situation of the Birling family. Also, due to this, the audience is mainly in suspense of what events will follow. The fact that Priestley wrote after two world wars means that most of his messages in the play are to deal with social issues. This book is about the conflict between classes, when in fact during the wars, they fought together and took care of one another. Priestley likely thought that the situation wasn’t improving in the real world, which is why he chose to express his feelings in “An Inspector Calls.” Maybe, he could even be criticising the efforts of those trying to help, as Mrs Birling, a key figure in Brumley’s Women Charity Organisation, failed to help Eva Smith, who was desperately in need. All in all, this is why and how Priestley creates tension in the extract and in “An Inspector Calls” as a whole.
Brandon Spears 10R
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