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An inspector calls - How real is the character of the Inspector? J.B.Priestley

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Introduction

An inspector calls Harriet Walden Page 79, Q4 How real is the character of the Inspector? When J.B.Priestley wrote this play he was interested in time. This leads me to think that Priestly may have represented the inspector as someone who has gone back in time to make sure that these people new what they had done. Another theory is that the Inspector represents truth, as "an embodiment of a collective conscience" as Gareth Lloyd Evans said, and is not a real person at all but just a representative of justice. The Inspectors name is also a pun of the word ghoul, which gives him a mysterious quality which may be Priestly showing that the inspector is not real and is some sort of ghost or angel. ...read more.

Middle

The Inspector arrives just after Birling has been talking of his views on life and how each person must look after only themselves and their family. The inspectors role is to contradict this and throughout the play tries to prove to the family that everyone is a "member of one body" Goole manages to make each character to confess to their actions, which helped lead to the death of Eva Smith. Each person also takes a punishment bought about by his or her own revelations. Birling fears for his family's reputation and a public scandal. Sheila feels shame and guilt for her selfishness. Gerald has his affair revealed in front of Sheila. Mrs Birling has her illusions about the respectability and innocence of her family shattered by Eric; and Eric is revealed before his indulgent parents as an alcoholic spoilt young man willing to steal from them. ...read more.

Conclusion

if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish. Good night." He walks straight out, leaving them staring subdued and wondering. Sheila is still crying and Mrs Birling has collapsed into a chair. This speech would have been very powerful to the audience watching at the time it was produced. They were recovering from the 2nd World War and the Inspector is implying that people have not learnt anything from it. It is through this last speech that the Inspector comes across as an embodiment of conscience most strongly. The way he speaks is as if he knows what is to come. In conclusion I think that the Inspector is as real as every one else in the play but I think that he represents a conscience of justice and truth and is a form of angel or ghost or something similar. ...read more.

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