Nearing the end of WW2, in 1944/5 J. B Priestly wrote a revolutionary play called ‘An Inspector Calls’. This play in it’s own particular way would raise high questioning to the prejudice in Britain during the pre WW1 period. In this essay you will be informed about the detail that Priestly goes into show the massive change in mood and tension from when the Birling family sit down to dinner after a pleasant evening to when the infamous inspector Goole dramatically enters the play causing great tension within the family and towards the inspector himself.
Firstly, nearing the beginning of the play, the Birling family are enjoying a pleasant evening, after having an adequate meal; the well-respected family are sitting by a cosy, inviting fire and absorbing the light conversation within the room. There is a sense of a positive vibe ammonised the characters and despite the diminutive disputes between Eric and the alluring Sheila Birling. Secondly, Priestly very much portrays the Birling family, and Mr. Birling in particular to be exceedingly blind sighted to not only the events happening in the country at the time, but also to the outcome of these events.
It quotes, ‘I say there isn’t a chance of war’, and this shows Mr. Birlings failure to realise the major problems around him at the time. It also says, ‘The Titanic- she sails next week, it is unsinkable’ this enormously shows Mr. Birling’s lack of understanding to the events occurring around him. Priestly also uses this excellently to utilize dramatic irony. Also, Mr. Birling being in his financial position at the time, he talks about how the upper-class people should stay together and to leave the lower class people behind or exploit them for cheap manual labour.
He even talks about how a man must only care about two things, his family, and how to get himself ahead in life if it means leaving others behind. Also, with Gerald being the son of a rivalling company to the Birlings, he talks about forging a bond between the two families and creating the ‘Birling-Croft Co. ‘ This shows Mr. Birlings greed and desire to have everything, never come second best and making two families a little richer but to make hundreds of workers live on poor pay in horrific conditions.
Next, although during the beginning of the play, everything seems bliss and in high spirits, there are borderline tensions between the shady Eric Birling and his sister Sheila. This could be down just to siblings squabbling or maybe something deeper. Although Eric’s played part before the inspectors arrival is somewhat under the radar, his main component is to quietly slip drink after drink swiftly down his throat like a hungry snake hunting for it’s prey, only Eric’s prey came in the form of whisky.
Eric would only start to open up and share his genuine feelings and detailed participation to Eva smith’s tragic death towards the end of the play, where his poisoned tongue would speak drunken words of the pain he had caused and he had burdened on himself. Now we enter the stage of where the renowned nevertheless just inspector Goole storms the play setting off emotional bombshell after bombshell within the household, slowly unwinding the complex web of lies and deceit which brutally killed the troubled Eva smith. As the inspector enters, you even in the audience can feel the iciness of the inspectors voice just as he says, ‘Mr.
Birling, my name is Goole’. Even before he has reviled the death, harm or any kind of worry of anyone. He acts consistent and confident as he speaks, as if he knew something the Birlings didn’t (which he did, he knew everything the Birlings didn’t). This was also a fantastic use of dramatic irony and as priestly makes it last throughout the play, it keeps the suspense rising gradually like water slowly rising in a glass, but when that glass gets full and starts to spill, all the secrets come out in the household. Next, the tension between the characters after the inspector had entered had increased on a major proportion.
As Mrs. Birling would accept no responsibility for Eva smiths death, clashed in masses towards say Sheila who made herself out to be the devil after what she did to Ms. Smith. Also, the tension between Mr. Birling and the inspector could be cut with a knife, as Mr. Birling talked about being knighted and that no one should be up to any scandals or mischief, after the inspectors enter and Mr. Birling had been informed in his and his families participation towards the death of a girl, his knighthood is roughly thrown away.
Finally, the fact that some of the characters after being told of their participation towards Eva Smiths death didn’t take any responsibility for it and even blamed it on someone else rather than to take any liability for the death. This creates great tension as while no one wants to be blamed for the death of an innocent girl, I think that deep down each of the characters knew that on some level it was there fault that Ms Smith died, and as some accepted their responsibility, others would not and blame someone else instead, creating tension between characters and blame on the less guilty people.
In conclusion, I think that the inspector’s entry was an obvious but cunning twist, also using dramatic irony to let the characters know that he knew the real truth all along create marvellous tension between the characters. Also, the inspectors naturally, forbidding, ice cold nature makes him a very threatening character which only creates more tension.
Lastly, with the exceedingly intellectual thinking of Priestly, to make that phone ring at the end and gear that forbidding news all over again, ‘A girl has died in the infirmary’, Priestly uses this very well to create tension right to the end and only leaving the pale white shock on the characters faces as the curtain falls. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE J. B. Priestley section.