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A close examination of the Inspector's character, role and his contribution to the play.

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Introduction

Roseanne Tebbutt 10DM A close examination of the Inspector's character, role and his contribution to the play John Boyton Priestley, in 1945 wrote a play, about an upper class family set in 1912, entitled 'An Inspector Calls'. An Inspector arrives at the Birling's house to investigate the death of a young woman named Eva Smith. As the plot thickens, the Inspector reveals that more of the characters are involved in Eva's death than was first expected. Throughout the play, Priestley focused on the characters' attitudes and actions and the consequence of them. The Inspector, Mr Goole, is the most important character in the play. Priestley submits his views and beliefs into the play through this character. Throughout the play, the Inspector has the power to focus all attention on any one of the characters, at any time. Priestley made it difficult for the audience to fully understand the Inspector's intention. The portrayal of an officer of the law was inconsistent. All three acts in the play are continuous and take place in the dining room of the Birling's house. The lighting before the Inspector arrives is, 'pink and intimate' making the characters appear relaxed and the atmosphere seem warm and inviting. ...read more.

Middle

Eventually, the Inspector reminds Mr Birling that Eva was the girl he had sacked from her employment. Mr Birling did not think of the consequences when he dismissed Eva from her job and from his mind. Sheila Birling is the next character to be questioned by the inspector. Once again, he describes Eva's horrific death. It works this time; Sheila reacts just how the Inspector had hoped. 'It's just that I can't help thinking about this girl - destroying herself so horribly - and I've been so happy tonight.' She instantly feels guilty and after seeing the photo, she openly tells the Inspector of her encounter with Eva. Sheila was also involved in Eva losing a job, although unlike her father, her immense guilt was evident and she displayed a need to turn back time and rectify her mistake. Gerald's actions, Sheila's fianc�, gave him away when the Inspector mentions the name Eva was known by after being sacked. Gerald acts surprised and reaches for another drink, Sheila notices his discomfort when hearing her name and questions him when the Inspector leaves. When the Inspector re-enters the room, he appears to know what they have been talking about. Sheila's interference assists the Inspector in finding out about Gerald's affair with Eva. ...read more.

Conclusion

They are all arguing and blaming each other, until they realise the Inspector was not a real Police Officer. Mr and Mrs Birling believe that they should put everything behind them and forget about their recent revelations. Whereas, Sheila and Eric feel the fact the Inspector was an impostor makes no difference. They believe they need to learn from their experiences and prevent further wrongdoings. Priestley portrays a younger generation who learn more from their mistakes, unlike their elders who appear to be stuck in their ways. Gerald, who is middle aged, appears to take the middle ground. The Inspector has an important role throughout the play. He informs the audience of the character's backgrounds and their involvement in the death of Eva. However, this leaves the Inspector fairly characterless. Priestley chooses not to inform the audience in the same way about the Inspector, leaving his character open to individual interpretation. Priestley uses this featureless character to express his own views and personal morals, not just within the play but also throughout the human race. Priestley believes that the younger generation are able to learn from their experiences and make a new start and be more cautious of their actions and the consequences of them. The play was written at the end of the war. Priestley wanted people to learn from the experiences of war and prevent further conflict and human catastrophe. 1 ...read more.

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