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English - 'An Inspector Calls'

Tension in Act I

Tirzah Thompson

on 20 April 2013

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Transcript of English - 'An Inspector Calls'

'An Inspector Calls' By Tirzah Thompson Social Tension Page 2:
Mr. B: "Tell cook from me."
Mrs. B: "Arthur, you're not supposed to say such things.
She comes from a higher class than he does.You were not meant to thank the servants, they were paid for that. Family/Relationship Tension Page 3:
Sheila: "Yes that's what you say."
Shows that Sheila suspects something about Gerald being 'busy at work last summer'. Page 3:
Sheila: "You're squiffy."
New generation, Sheila & Eric know each other better than their parents do. Page 4-7:
Mr.B's long speeches on business.
Meant to be a light engagement party as opposed to a business meeting. Mrs. B does not appreciate him talking for ages. Portrays him as a foolish pompous Capitalist. Page 8:
Mr. B: "feels you might have done better for yourself socially."
Makes Gerald feel uncomfortable and you do not mention that. Inspector Tension Page 10:
Gerald: "Only something we were talking about when you were out. A joke really."
Eric feels uneasy because the two older men are mocking him. Page 11:
Mr. B: "I was an alderman for years..."
Putting the Inspector in his place, showing him who he is, his status and his position in society. Page 11:
Mr. B: "Well, what is it then?"
Impatient with Ins., has no time for him even though he does not know what the problem is. Page 12:
Mr. B: "Yes, yes. Horrid business."
Does not think the suicide business involves him at all. Page 13:
Mr.B: "Look - there's nothing mysterious - or scandalous - about this business... it's a perfectly straightforward case... it has nothing whatever to do with the wretched girl's suicide."
Quite indignant and does not want anything to do with the business. He thinks he has nothing to do with it. Page 15:
Mr.B: "Did you say why?"
Inspector: "Yes. Why did you refuse."
Mr.B: "I don't see that it is any concern of yours"
Inspector: "It might be, you know."
Mr.B: "I don't like that tone."
Mr. B feels that the Inspector is telling him how to run his business and he expects the Inspector to agree with him as a magistrate person. Priestley also puts across his Socialist views here. Page 16:
Eric: "Why shouldn't they try for higher wages?"
Mr.B: "Unless you brighten your ideas, you'll never be in a position to let anybody stay or tell anybody to go."
Highlights the differences in generation where Eric is open to new ideas and more Socialist than his father is. Page 17:
Mr.B: "Nothing to do with you Sheila. Run along.
Inspector: "No, wait a minute, Miss Birling."
Mr.B: "Look here Inspector..."
The Inspector is taking control away from Mr.B as he contradicts him on whether Sheila has anything to do with the matter. Mr. B does not like this as he is used to being in control as a high up and employer in the city. Page 19:
Sheila: "But these girls aren't cheap labour, they're people."
Putting across her political views which agree with the Inspector's and Eric's but differ considerably from her father's and Gerald's as they are both Capitalist businessmen. Page 21:
Mr.B: "And a nasty mess you've made of it now, haven't you."
Inspector reiterates the tragedy by referring to the 'nasty mess' of Eva's death. Birling blames the uncomfortable situation on the Inspector. Sheila being treated as a child: Eric being treated as a child: Page 21:
Mr.B: "What's the matter with her?"
Eric: "She recognized her from the photograph, didn't she?"
Sheila is clearly upset about her involvement which she has now realized and Mr.B does not seem to connect the situations. Page 22:
Gerald: (rather uneasily) "Well I don't suppose I have -"
Eric: (suddenly bursting out) "Look here, I've had enough of this."
Both Gerald and Eric are both very uneasy from the way the Ins. has reduced Sheila to tears and that he knows more than they do. Worries about Sheila and what he will do next. Page 25:
Sheila: "I've noticed them giving me a sort of look in Milwards..."
Situation which reflected poorly on Sheila as a person and as a customer. Page 25:
Inspector: "So first she changed her name to Daisy Renton -"
Gerald: (startled) "What?"
Gerald clearly knows something about Daisy and Sheila picks up on it as shown on Page 25/26. Page 25/26:
Sheila: "You gave yourself away as soon as he mentioned her other name."
Gerald: "All right. I knew her. Let's leave it at that."
Sheila knew that Gerald was involved with Daisy from when the Ins. mentioned her name. Gerald does not want to tell her about about it and would prefer to 'brush it under the carpet'. Sheila, however knows that the Inspector will just tear him apart and will know the truth. She is telling him that it would be easy just to admit it but he doesn't want to. Page 26:
Gerald: "Yes. We can keep it from him."
Sheila: (Laughing rather hysterically) "Why - you fool - he knows. Of course he knows."
Sheila knows what it is like to be made to tell her story and knows that there is no point in trying to hisde Gerald's part in it. Gerald just wants to forget about it and Sheila knows that there is no point. Page 26:
Inspector: "Well?"
Ends Act 1 on a cliffhanger and makes the audience wonder if he heard the exchange and whether Gerald will get found out.
Full transcript