The Inspector Calls

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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, entrances and exits, obligatory scenes, climatic curtains, mistaken identities and a denouement.

The exposition is a feature not only selective to ‘Well Made Plays’ it is introduction of the characters to the audience. Due to Inspector Calls being a play it had to grip the audience from the off. Priestley didn’t have time to create intricate 3-D personality, or mysterious subtle personas. Instead his characters have to be blunt, and rather stereotypical, so the audience could instantly feel acquainted with them.

The entrances and exits are key feature in the play ‘Inspector Calls’. The entrances and exits provide a platform for very bold moments within the play. The manner in which a character can enter a room can dictate the majority of the remaining scene, a character leaving a scene can also have a similar effect. The entire emotion felt within a scene can change literally with the opening or closing or a door, and Priestley, when writing Inspector Calls, knew this and excellently portrayed this with the manner and the timing of the Inspector’s first entrance. Up until the Inspectors entrance the characters had been in the hub of a humorous, enjoyable scene, an engagement party. However the Inspector’s unanticipated,...
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