At first Eva’s death seems like an insignificant and unfortunate woman who had committed suicide. But as the conversation progresses the plot thickens, as Birling remembers who Eva was, Birling suddenly becomes defensive as he realises he could incriminate himself and as a result lose the respect of his peers and society because this could cause a scandal. He then becomes anxious for example ‘Just keep quiet’. This puts the audience on edge as they want to know why Eva was sacked and gets them interested to know why did she kill herself. Priestly then uses inspector Goole to engage the audience in the play by making the audience feel sorry for her. Priestly does this by describing her death in harrowing detail for example ‘Burnt her insides out’ and ‘she died in great agony’.
To create drama and tension, Priestly also uses the way each act end nearly climaxing then stopping. By doing this he keeps the audience on tenterhooks as the audience don’t know what happening next. At the end of act 2 Mrs. Birling is saying that the man who got Eva pregnant should be the one made to answer for what he’s done. As We are about to find out who he is Priestly concludes this act on a cliffhanger on Sheila’s line ‘mother- I begged you-and begged you to stop.’ This adds tension because the audience want to know what will happen next therefore they are engaged in the play and are learning of the plot with the characters they are no longer just mere observers.
As a contrast Priestly also uses dramatic irony with in this play. For example when Mr. Birling vented ‘fiddlesticks, the Germans don’t want war’ the audience knows that the war took place but Birling is oblivious to him it seems ignorance is truly bliss. Priestly also uses the Titanic as a symbol for Birling and his family who thought they were untouchable because they had wealth. As this play progresses their luxury cruise ship of family life crumbles as they hit an iceberg of pride, sloth, gluttony, envy, covetousness, lust and anger, revelation after revelation.
This play is set in the Birling’s large suburban home. I think that by using soft mood lighting at the beginning of the scene at the dining table, I will be able to relax the audience, so when the tension builds I will be able to catch the audience by surprise. I believe that this play has three morals. First is that if you think you are superior to others you will end up worse off. The second moral is that a person’s actions can affect others greatly. We must be careful of our own behaviour. The third moral is we are all responsible for each other.
This play at first seems direct at first, a normal detective play. As the involvement of each character in the build up of Eva’s suicide becomes known it becomes a Cluedo type affair, as the inspector slowly unravels the mystery. The audience is kept engaged in suspense as they too try to figure out who deserves most of the blame. They are subjected to a rollercoaster of emotions in just one act for example act 2 began with a revelation and almost climaxed at the end of the act but carries the revelation to the next act while keeping the audience in suspense. I also believe this play has many Shakespearean qualities i.e. the constant consciousness of morality – the seven deadly sins.