"An Inspector Calls".

Essay by pini3000 December 2005

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The first scene I have chosen is the one where the Inspector begins his questioning of Mr.Birling. I feel that Priestley is successful in creating dramatic tension in this scene in a number of ways.

The characters themselves; how they see themselves and what they think of themselves adds to the tension of the scene. Birling sees himself as a 'hard headed business man', who has learnt in 'the good hard school of experience.' He believes that a man should 'look after himself and his own', he has contempt and a condescending attitude toward the lower classes and his work force, seeing them only has cheap labour for his factories. An example of this contempt can be seen when Birling says, and I quote, 'Obviously it has nothing to do with that wretched girl's suicide.' So when the Inspector, one of a lower class, is found to be an incorruptible force of good, who takes control of the situation, Mr.

Birling's relaxed and condescending manner becomes aggressive and angry has he finds himself, a person of high social position, having to defend his actions. 'I don't see we need to tell the inspector anything more.' Another example of Mr. Birling defending his actions is, 'Well it's my duty to keep labour costs down.' It is Mr. Birling's reaction to the Inspector's control of the situation that successfully adds dramatic tension to the scene.

The language and style used by Priestley also affects the dramatic tension of the scene. We are told that the Inspector speaks 'carefully, weightily'. His instructions and questions help him to control the situation, but also to develop the plot and storyline, adding layer upon layer of information each giving more tension to the over all scene. The length of his sentences add to...