The mood in this act changes from relaxed to tense. Explore the ways Priestley transforms the tone throughout the act.
We have been studying a 20th century play called ‘An Inspector Calls’ wrote by J.B Priestly in 1945. I am going to state how the mood changes and what devices he uses to create tension and suspense. The main purpose of this play was not to entertain people but to put a point across.
Priestley’s theme was responsibility and how one person’s actions often have an effect on other people and the effect that might occur. He is trying to say that the community have a responsibility to look after others.
Priestley makes social criticism of the time in which the play is set by, when the inspector calls round he interrupts Billing’s speech about how people should look out for themselves and their family “a man has to make his own way-has to look after himself- and his family too, of course”. Its during this speech the door bell rings the reason for the inspector calling at this time is he is trying to challenge what Birling is saying, this shows Priestley does not agree with what Birling said and how in his community people are like and think like Birling.
One way that Priestley shows tension between Mr Birling and the inspector is through their different opinions; the inspector is there for and cares about the people in the community and actually wants to help, whereas Mr Birling doesn’t really care about anyone but himself, as he was talking about before the inspector came in he clearly states that “a man has to make his own way-has to look after himself- and his family too, of course” but it would seem to the audience that Mr Birling in face added “ and his family too” as an after thought, which would back up the fact that he only cares about himself.
In Priestley's "Wrong Ism", he claims that nationalism is not the strength that binds a country together, but rather all of the small local areas we are all accustomed to growing up in that gives us strength. Priestley considers nationalistic ideas and movements to be headed by people who have a love of power and who have left out their regional ties. They no longer have feelings for the areas ...
Another way Priestly shows tension is through power or lack of it, for example, before the inspector comes on stage, Mr Birling seems to have all the power and even when the inspector comes on, Birling underestimates him and offers him a drink not knowing that the inspector has come round to question him, which then give the inspector the upper hand and he now has more power than Birling, this would cause tension because Birling is so used to having all the power and he may feel that the inspector has not only come into his home, uninvited but also making a fool out of him in front of his family.
At the start of act 1, Sheila and Gerald have known each other for about a year, and they are celebrating their engagement.’ Gerald comes from a rich, powerful, well-respected family who are in a higher class than the Birlings.
Throughout act 1 we don’t really learn anything about Gerald just that he is in a higher class than Sheila and that there was this one summer where he and Sheila didn’t see each other because Gerald was “awfully busy at the works”, This might lead the audience to think that Gerald is quite a secretive lying character in some parts of the play but maybe pleasant and loving in others.
In the beginning of the play, Sheila and Gerald’s relationship is unbalanced because Gerald sees himself as the dominant one, and he is controlling. Sheila is naïve, quite immature for her age, and impressionable. Gerald chose and bought the engagement ring for Sheila, without her having any say about it, and she just accepts that, and doesn’t question Gerald. She says ‘Is this the one you wanted me to have?’ which shows her willingness to be controlled. The atmosphere at that time is very calm and it seems that nothing could possibly go wrong and change that, in a way the atmosphere is almost like Sheila and Gerald’s relationship, the inspector tells the family about the death of Eva Smith, fortunately for Sheila and Gerald neither of them are familiar with that name but Mr Birling is, but as the inspector carries on and tells them that Eva went by a different name, Daisy Renton, but this time Gerald is the one who recognises that name.
Henry V Is Henry V an anti-war play? You could refer in your answer to the Olivier and Branagh films and the contexts in which they were produced, as well as the context of the play's original composition. At the time when Shakespeare wrote Henry V Queen Elizabeth was the country's monarch and the nation had just witnessed England defeat the Spanish Armada and become the world's strongest naval ...
By the end of Act One, Sheila is aware that Gerald has been up to something in the previous summer and Sheila gains some control of their relationship. She works out what the Inspector is doing, and says ‘Why – you fool – he knows…and I hate to think how much he knows that we don’t know yet. You’ll see. You’ll see.’ It also says ‘She looks at him almost in triumph. He looks crushed.’ She feels triumphant because she has stood up to Gerald and gains control over him for once.
As the play was set in 1912, just two years before the First World War, It was a time of great transition; the existing social order was being questioned. In the 19th century the British Empire had grown to be the largest the world had ever seen giving the rich, a very high opinion of themselves. The rich were appalled with the poor, and the poor loathed the rich. This is a reflection on the ladder of society, with God at the top, then the Monarchy, going to minor aristocracy the list goes all the way down to the working class ‘scum’ at the bottom who comprised the majority of society, Dramatic irony is involved in the early stages of the play. It is used on two occasions, one consecutively following the other. Birling states “Just because the Kaiser makes a speech or two, or a few German officers have too much to drink and start talking nonsense, you’ll hear some people say that war’s inevitable. And to that I say – fiddlesticks! The Germans don’t want war. Nobody wants war, except some half-civilized folks in the Balkans”. As I have quoted earlier the play was set just two years before the First World War, and we know that war did actually happen. The play was set in 1912 but written in 1944-45, this would mean that the audience would know that war had already happened, and they would see Mr. Birling as a fool, he is blissfully unaware of this and continues to portray himself as a fool by making a speech on the Titanic and how “absolutely unsinkable” it is, likewise with the World War situation, at the time when the play would have been being watched, the Titanic had already sank, and anyone watching would have known that, it add to the fact that Mr. Birlings opinion isn’t necessarily the only opinion.
Examine and Comment on the Dramatic Effect of the Role of the Inspector in 'An Inspector Calls' by J. B. Priestley "An Inspector Calls" by J B Priestley, was written post-world war II, but is set in the time period of the early 1910's. This is a time of great innovation and great threat, as the "Titanic" was about to make its maiden voyage and trouble in the Balkans about to spill out into the ...
Right before the inspector enters the Birlings home, he rings the door bell, this is significant because inside the house the mood is calm and everyone is having a good time, and a sudden bell ringing would disturb the mood and cause it to change, by doing this Priestly has already given The inspector power by making him able to change the mood inside the house even when he’s not actually inside yet. Mr. Birling orders the maid, Edna, to bring the inspector inside and “give them more light” this could mean that Birling, unknowingly changes the mood by changing the lighting, or it could be that Priestly is creating tension by having particular characters on stage when the inspector enters, Mr. Birling, Eric and Gerald are the first people to meet the inspector, this is important because it could suggest that maybe the three of them have something to do with what happened to Eva Smith, it also adds dramatic effect because some characters are not on stage when he comes in and the audience doesn’t know what they are doing. Another way it adds dramatic effect is where Gerald asks the inspector if he should leave, and the inspector tell Gerald not to leave, this might suggest that the inspector wishes to talk with Gerald as well as Mr. Birling suggesting that the inspector might be suspicious of Gerald.
In conclusion to act 1 of the play, it really changes your view on a lot of characters over all, for example it shows Gerald to be connected to Eva Smith/ Daisy Renton through an affair he had been having over summer, and it also shows Sheila to get easily jealous and do things without fully thinking them through and thinking of the consequences.
The way Priestley uses the inspector to create tension grabs the audiences’ attention because he seems to know everything about all of the Birlings including Gerald, but he never gives away more than he needs too and this would keep the audience intrigued and wanting to know more and find out how he knows all everything.