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"An Inspector Calls," by J.B. Priestly: Free Essay for GCSE Courses

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❶About this resource This English Literature essay was submitted to us by a student in order to help you with your studies. This builds tension, making the audience more involved because they are in possession of knowledge that the characters are not.

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Throughout the play, J. Priestly uses Eva Smith's suicide as a plot device to build dramatic tension, dramatic irony, and to share his socialist message. Socialist issues are explored by the two main characters, Mr. Birling and Inspector Goole, who subtly debate their outlooks for the future. Birling claims there will be prosperity and peace, while Inspector Goole sees more war on the horizon.

Over the course of the play, the Birling family is interrogated and it's revealed to have been responsible for the young woman's exploitation, abandonment and social ruin, effectively leading to her death.

Before the Inspector tells us that we are all links in the chain and we should look out for each other, the audience bears witness to exactly what might happen if we choose to ignore this view of society. Each of the Birlings is a link in the chain of events that lead to Eva Smiths suicide.

Even Gerald is a link to the suicide—even though he has just recently become engaged to Sheila. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. This sudden revelation is very effective because it makes the audience aware that they, too, could have brought about similar tragedies without even knowing it.

These are the people who are often forgotten in modern society. This revelation is given weight and significance by the sudden manner in which the Birlings' involvement with Eva Smith is made clear.

Socialism was a very relevant topic because An Inspector Calls was released in at the end of the Second World War. As we can see, Priestley uses Eva Smith as a representative of the forgotten people of society. She is one of the millions of individuals who are ignored and shunned as a result of a series of misfortunes.

She received disdain from others and likely lacked capital or the means of support. Generally, she would have been referred to as one of the "down and outs" of society. The World War had caused pain and anguish for the Smiths, who suffered, and are still suffering. The Inspector's doubles as a device used by Priestley to both convey his ideas about society and to build up dramatic tension. We see this tension in the way in which he contrasts with Mr. Birling is extremely confident and, some would say, arrogant at the beginning of the play.

He dismisses the possibility of a war based on his belief in progress. Ultimately, he is selfish and arrogant. He doesn't think so highly of these capitalist developments. The fact that the Inspector arrives just after Birling gives this advice is a great example of dramatic timing. We see these contrasting characteristics develop more throughout the play.

The Inspector gains weight, charisma, and power, and therefore tension is built, throughout the play. The Inspector belittles and erodes the confidence of Mr. Birling, a man that is supposedly a powerful figure. Birling becomes insecure while trying to defend his actions. We see that he becomes anxious, and this builds tension, because the audience is made aware of how formidable a character the Inspector is.

The Inspector draws the audience's attention, making them wonder what he will do next, what his next line of inquiry will be. Another way in which Priestly builds dramatic tension is by gradually revealing that all of the characters are found to have played a part in the alleged murder of Eva Smith. Everytime the Inspector shows the photograph to a different character, a little more is revealed about their collective guilt. The photograph is a great device for moving the plot. Dramatic tension is also built through the use of dramatic irony.

The audience instantly knows that Mr. While the audience knows that Mr. Birling is wrong, Mr. Birling is too arrogant to see the flaws in his logic.

GCSE Example Essay: Dramatic Tension in J.B. Priestly's

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