Priestley - Tension - 54

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How does Priestley succeed in sustaining tension at this point of the play – page 54 - 55

Interestingly, Priestley’s reference to the time related adverb ‘soon’ emphasises Mr. Birling as more concerned with covering up Eric’s wrongdoings to avoid a social scandal than being concerned about his son. Thus, retaining his social superiority and title in the nouveaux riche in comparison, to the working classes of the industrial age. This moment successfully sustains tension as Mr. Birling illustrates his capitalist and social views are of more importance to him rather than his own son’s crime, which is previously, suggested when Birling cannot accept his own moral crimes or responsibilities. Also the furtive verb ‘cover’ depicts Mr. Birling’s fears of confession enticing tension among characters hence alluring the audience. Furthermore, tension is successfully conveyed by Priestley with the use of pauses making us, the audience anticipate what will happen next. When Eric explains he’s “not the type of father a chap would go to when he’s in trouble – that’s why” to Mr Birling, he finds it hard to come to terms with the consequences of his actions acquainting to the audience the tense relationship shared between Eric and his father, indicating different capitalist and socialist views among the Birling parents and children who comprehend the didactic message. Also, it reveals the lack of love in the family, demonstrating the Birling’s as not only being hard hearted but inadequate parents too. This is made further evident when Mrs. Birling contradicts her social power in the philanthropic organisation and her refusal to accept her son’s acts and consequences suggesting lack of remorse and social conscience. Moreover, Priestley sustains tension with the use of colloquial language consolidating differences amidst generations. Additionally, it is suggested that the account of stichomythia auspiciously sustains tension at this point in the play making conversations short...
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