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An Inspector Calls by J.B.Priestley "We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other" - What is the inspector's function?

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Introduction

An Inspector Calls by J.B.Priestley "We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other". - What is the inspector's function? The inspector is an inspector of morals, and his speech justifies that. What the inspector means by this is we do not do things by ourselves; other people are always involved. We are all one community and we have to work together. Just as in a human body, everything has to work together. We have to work together, co-operate to get through life, care for each other because we are all responsible for each other. Whatever we do reflects on others our reactions have consequences similar to a chain reaction. In the beginning of the play, the inspector first arrives, introduced as "police inspector". Mr.Birling wonders "an inspector?" Edna the family housemaid explains "a police inspector" by the name of "Inspector Goole". Mr.Birling is somewhat shocked as he refuses to a "glass of port". This is because at the period of time when the play was set, 1912, it was traditional yet normal to have a drink. Vividly shown at the beginning and through out the play even at the serious situations, "I'm having a drink" Eric exclaimed. Birling had never even heard of the inspector either, he used to be "Lord Mayor" and is still "on the bench" therefore he surely would have known who the inspector was considering a mayor would have power and information on such big facilities; the Brumley police station. ...read more.

Middle

Although Sheila and Eric do, Gerald does but not until the end of the play: until he thinks "everything's alright" and holds out the engagement ring thinking everything can return back to normal. Shelia feels that the inspector "certainly inspected us"; he inspected them of what they knew. He controls the action by taking charge of the investigation. He over powers Mr.Birling when Eric asks for a drink because Mr.Birling thinks it is inappropriate "no you can't" while the inspector firmly protests, "yes he can!", this rudeness fuels some suspicions about Goole it is abnormal behaviour. Goole builds up tension in many ways: frequently asking questions, making them rapidly answer and confess, forcing them to admit and also cliff-hangers increase the tension. Priestly had obviously thought deeply about the play, because he added the cliffhangers at the end of each "act" even at the final chapter of the play. Eric and Sheila say and admit to everything so the inspector does not have to necessary have to do any work, even if he was to be a complete stranger he would have no struggle. He cleverly draws information from each character effortlessly and remains solid and intake when the family breaks down. He seems to know why they should feel guilty, for what purpose. In addition, his probing questions leave them to confess, one by one and in a certain order, building up suspense on the way because you want to know what he or she has to say and why he asks the family in such an order; who will speak when and who will leave when? ...read more.

Conclusion

I think the inspector's function was to show the family how their actions led to fatal consequences. He tried to make them realise it was their responsibility that they had to accept, and not to blame it on their siblings. The end of the play was the only period during the whole play that he was acting "out of role"; an inspector would not be able to do so. His speech was thoughtful and meaningful that it seemed as if it meant something special it him. He meant if from his heart, not just his head and seemed to be somewhat hurt. A professional inspector would not say something like that especially not a police inspector because it is their duty not to show their feelings because it is informal. Even though it was a hoax, it did not seem as if his speech was. Overall, the inspector put the moral meaning in the story clearly shown in his speech. Everyone has responsibilities, which they have to accept, because their actions lead to consequences and that is something you can never blame on somebody else. You can never have a second chance, as the Birling family did, in conclusion, you have to think before you take action. Everyone has an "angel" overlooking him or her, but the "angel" will not tell you what right or wrong, good or bad thing you have done, because that is the whole meaning of living, of life, to make decisions for yourself. ...read more.

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