How does Priestley hint at the tensions within the group that later become more clear in Act 1?
In Act 1 of An Inspector calls, Priestly makes it crucial that he sets out hints of conflicts and tension that later become clear to the reader. He is careful in his creation of tension through themes that occur throughout the play, which guide the reader through the text in what reveals itself to be a cautious downfall of an apparent secure and wealthy family structure. As the scene begins, Priestley describes it scene in detail giving the audience an impression of a heavily comfortable household. Priestley says that the “lighting should be pink and intimate” suggesting an important evening, where the family are having a good time and are pleased with themselves. However, just before the inspector comes, the lighting becomes “brighter and harder” diffusing the families’ intimacy and hinting that not all is as it seems. For example early on, we wonder whether the happy atmosphere is slightly forced Mr and Mrs Berlin are sitting at opposite sides of the table, suggesting that they have a distance between them therefore hinting towards the cracks in the family. In addition to this, tension is built through dramatic irony when Sheila wonders where Gerald disappeared to last summer. The reader is allowed to see through the perfect scene that Priestley created at the beginning of the scene and actually realise that there’s a sense of secrecy that lingers in the room. When Sheila suspects this, Mrs Berlin shuts her up, by stating that “when you’re married you’ll have to remember that men have important work to do sometimes” this highlights on the different mind-set of the older and younger generation. Sheila doesn’t believe that she will as time had changed from her mother’s time. The old are set in their ways. They are utterly confident that they are right and they see the young as foolish. For example Berlin believes he’s right about the war, but the audience and...
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