The Inspector Calls Essay

1007 Words Jan 7th, 2011 5 Pages
The Inspector Calls.

Michael Johnson

Explain how far Priestley uses the features of a ‘Well Made Play’ to create additional tense and suspension in an ‘Inspector Calls’.

Inspector Calls was written in 1945 by John Boynton Priestley, renowned author. He subtly portrayed his socialist political outlook in his play, through the manner of the characters, and the goings on at the time. Inspector Calls was written during World War 2 so the dampened attitude felt by people at the time, might have reflected in Priestley choice to write a play about suicide. The play uses features of a ‘Well Made Play’ to generate a feeling of tension and suspension within the audience. It does this very well by using such features as; Exposition,
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The spontaneity of the Inspectors entrance helps add additional suspense and tension to the play by, instantly making the audience speculate what the Inspectors intentions of the visit are. This speculation adds suspense as it makes the audience repeatedly re-evaluate the cast, as they know realise their original judgments of the character’s traits and history are have perhaps been misinterpreted. Tension is generated by the anticipation of the characters responses to the Inspectors probing, penetrating and inquisitive questions.

The obligatory scene is also a heavily used feature within the ‘Well Made Play’ genre. It is the part of the play where a secret is publicised and a person’s integrity slashed. However Priestly ingeniously, not only liberates one secret within the play, but multiple, equally scandalous secrets. None of the characters reveal their secrets voluntarily; they all have to be extracted by the smooth, precise Inspector.

An increase in suspension felt by the audience is created when witnessing an obligatory scene. Part of the reason Inspector Calls is such a well acknowledged play is because of the many, unforeseeable secrets released to the audience. Each character has their dark past extracted from the shadows and laid bare for all to see. This public humiliation entices the audiences, and makes them long for more shame to be inflicted, thus generating additional suspense. The tension is created in the audience’s predictions as to which

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