One of the other ways Inspector Goole transforms the tone is the way he only follows “one line of the enquiry” This is shown when he reaches for the picture of Eva in his pocket and will only let Mr Birling see it – “Any particular reason why I shouldn’t see this girls photographs? (Coolly looking hard at him) There might be. And I suppose the same applies to me? Yes” This is our first hint in the play that there is something suspicious, only letting one person see the photograph is a bit odd. The Inspector here adds drama and tension by his actions, looking hard at Birling making the mood more sour. This may be because every picture he shows is a different one. Only letting one-person look gives the impression that the Inspector is a shrewd character.
Another way tension is added is by the incisive phrases used by the Inspector such as “No sir I can’t agree with you there” and “It’s my duty to ask questions” also “I don’t see much of him” (Colonel Roberts) The way he answers these short, sharp and straight to the point. This nature of razor-sharp language indicates that he knows something that Mr. Birling doesn’t know. Furthermore he says these comments in an ice-cool or sharp manner. An additional way the atmosphere is transformed is due to the role of the inspector and the way he brings the ghastly news about the suicide, with his graphic descriptions designed to puncture the jolly, happy atmosphere.
“I’d like some information, if you don’t mind, Mr Birling. Two hours ago a young woman died in the infirmary. She’d been taken there this afternoon because she’d swallowed a lot of strong disinfectant. Burnt her inside out, of course.” The way the Inspector delivers the news of the girl’s death is so calm and cool, it sends the audience into shock, going into the gruesome details which a policeman would normally not do. “Yes, she was in great agony. They did everything they could for her a t the infirmary, but she died. Suicide of course.”
This quotation further highlight the points made it also shows the writer’s technique here. Writing with short sharp sentences adding tension and drama, and completely turning the play’s atmosphere into one of shock. The atmosphere also turns from relaxed to tense by the reaction of Mr. Birling, Sheila, Gerald and Eric. Mr Birling’s reaction is one of surprise that he is being asked questions; his language and attitude towards the inspector are obstinate. He thinks he is superior to the Inspector and higher up on the social ranking, so that he can treat Inspector Goole like dirt.He is tries to get rid of him as fast as possible so he can carry on with the celebrations;
(Rather impatiently) “Yes, yes. Horrid business. But I don’t understand why you should come here, inspector-” This quotation shows Arthur Birling’s true colours, uncaring and highly-strung. This reaction will stun the audience because of his cold-heartedness. He was doing his best to try and avoid anything to do with the case because he is apparently in next years honours list for a knighthood. When Mr Birling feels threatened by the Inspector he just reminds the inspector how he has associates in high places so he feels he is absolved from the blame. In this quotation he is talking about Colonel Roberts, and can only exacerbate further the Inspector.
“Perhaps I ought to warn you that he’s an old friend of mine, and that I see him fairly frequently. We play golf together sometimes up at the West Bromley.” This gives the audience the impression of Mr Birling being hesitant and adds drama for the reason that it makes him look guilty. Additionally his reaction when Sheila is questioned is interesting. He tries to protect Sheila from the inspector by trying to get Sheila back into the drawing room; “We shall be along in a minute now, just finishing” and “Nothing to do with you Sheila run along” shows how keen he is to get Sheila out of the room and away from the Inspector. His keenness to manage the Inspector and get rid of him makes it appear to the audience (and probably to the Inspector) that he has something to hide.
The reaction of Sheila on the other hand is very different from that of her father’s. She is the family conscience throughout the play. In this act she criticises her father and is the only one who is upset when she hears the terrible news about Eva. Her reaction And language is emotional and blunt. For example ” Oh- how horrible! Was it an accident?” this is an example of emotive language and shows that Sheila was the only one with concern for the girl. Sheila is guileless and open, ready to admit her knowledge of Eva and the possibility of an unwitting involvement in her death and refuses to protect anyone; she just comes straight out with the truth “(Distressed) I went to the manager at Milwards and I told him that if they didn’t get rid of that girl, I’d never go near to the place again and I’d persuade Mother to close our account with them.”