An Inspector Calls - Dramatic Tension

1537 Words Feb 17th, 2008 7 Pages
An Inspector Calls is a play written by J. B. Priestley in 1945 about the prosperous Birling family being confronted by a Police Inspector who reveals during the play each family member's involvement in a young woman's suicide. The play has socialist undertones, as Priestly was a prominent socialist himself. The play is set in spring 1912 in the dining room of the Birlings house in Brumley, just before the First World War. It was first performed 1 October 1946 to an audience who had just lived through the Second World War.

Priestley uses dramatic tension through the play to make it interesting and full of suspense for his audience.

Mrs Birling's interrogation begins half way through Act Two. So far in the play Inspector Goole entered the
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"Yes. We've done a great of deal useful work in helping deserving cases." Mrs Birling shows her defiance and stubbornness in this line. At this point in the story, it has not been revealed that Eva was turned away by Mrs Birling, stating she wasn't "deserving" enough of aid. This shows her character and tells the audience and Inspector clearly that she didn't think she could of done anything.

After this line is spoken, the inspector begins to become more severe with his questioning, in contrast to his politeness at the beginning. The mood becomes more severe and the atmosphere becomes tenser as the inspector begins to dig deeper with his questioning.

Suddenly, Mr Birling enters "looking rather agitated" to inform the family and inspector that Eric has indeed left the house and the situation. This creates a new problem. Priestly uses Eric's absence to create a level of tension as the play is set in one room in ‘real time'. This makes the audience wonder why Eric has left and where he has gone to as the audience can only see what I happening in the dining room. These questions cannot be answered created suspicion and tension. The inspector stresses how he must be at the house and cannot leave,
BIRLING "and even though we don't need him here—"
INSPECTOR "(cutting in Sharply) We do need him here. And if he's not back Soon, I shall have to go and find him"

This shows the Birling family are trapped in the room as
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