The play ‘An Inspector Calls’ tells a story about the prosperous middle-class Birling family is visited by a man calling himself Inspector Goole, who questions the family about the suicide of a young working-class woman, Eva Smith. In the opening of the play, Priestley used several ways to create a sense of mystery and intrigue effectively.
Firstly, one way in which Priestley makes Act One so intriguing and mysterious is through suggesting the change of Sheila’s attitude towards Gerald. We see this in page 23 after Sheila told her story about what she has done to Eva Smith in Milwards. She ‘(suddenly, to Gerald) All right, Gerald, you needn’t look at me like that. At least I’m trying to tell the truth. I expect you’ve done something you’re ashamed of too.’ Here, the phrase ‘ashamed of too’ implies not only Sheila felt guilty and shame about what she did to the girl, but also shows that she realized she is not the only person who is responsible, she is completely sure about the truth which is Gerald must has done something disgraceful as well. Creating a sense of suspense to the audience. This can be linked to when at the end of Act One, Sheila has argue with Gerald, she '(laughs rather hysterically) Why – you fool – he knows. Of course he knows. And I hate to think how much he knows that we don’t know yet. You’ll see. You’ll see.' Here, the stage direction ‘hysterically’ suggests that Sheila knows Gerald is not innocent at all, she laughs so loud to show her disappointment and irony to Gerald when he tries to hide the truth. Also, the phrase ‘of course’ conveys that Sheila thinks Mr Goole has a clear clue of what happened, he just wants to break down their defence. Thus, we see that through suggesting that Sheila changes her attitude towards her fiancé because of his suspiciousness, Priestley creates a sense of mystery and intrigue, which encourages his audience to curious about what might happen to Gerald.
Secondly, another way in which Priestley makes Act One so intriguing and mysterious is through suggesting what kind of person Mr Goole is. Inspector Goole from the start is shrouded in mystery. We see this in the first appearance of him. Priestley writes, 'The Inspector need not be a big man but he creates at once an impression of massiveness, solidity and purpose'. Here, the triplet ‘massiveness’ ‘solidity’ and ‘purpose’ not only makes clear that he will dominate proceedings from now on, and he will not afraid of the hostility he faces from the Birling family. But also the first part of the quote implies that his ability to dominate does not come from his physical stature. This can be linked to 'plain darkish suit of the period'. Here the word ‘plain’ shows although he is wearing normal, plain clothes, he still can take control of the situation. His ability to dominate comes from his impressive manner; this is made clear when Priestley writes 'He speaks carefully, weightily, and has a disconcerting habit of looking hard at the person he addresses before actually speaking'. The Inspector moderates his voice and also insists on eye contact to achieve maximum impact. Thus, we see this through suggesting that inspector Goole is a mighty man and has the excellent skills and ability of investigating. Priestley creates a sense of mystery and intrigue, which attracts the audience’s attention to find out what he will do to make this family admit