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An Inspector Calls - the character of the inspector.

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Introduction

An Inspector Calls I believe that in 'An Inspector Calls' the writer uses the character of the inspector in 4 different ways; A spirit/ghost of supernatural power, to express socialism as a crank, to voice the opinions of the author and to show Birling's/societies conscience. I am going to explore how the writer uses the character of Inspector Goole as a supernatural power through which he shares his voice and also the character's consciences. The play is written by J.B Priestley and explores the relationships between a middle-class family and the secrets they hide from each other. It is set in 1912 at a time of social upheaval and uncertainty, World War One was soon to break out and in the years to follow, strikes and general change was to happen. But in the Birling household everything is pleasant ... for now. The Inspector's arrival creates dramatic tension and is perfectly timed, it is important because we get our first impression of him. We have no idea from the dialogue beforehand that something out of the ordinary is going to happen. The Birling family plus Gerald are having a little celebration and Mr Birling, Eric and Gerald are having a discussion, or rather Mr Birling is telling them his views on life and the world. ...read more.

Middle

Gerald is interrogated next and until then is quiet. He gives himself away when the Inspector mentions the name Daisy Renton, but unlike Sheila he is not willing to talk. The Inspector has to pressurise him into telling the truth. He does though and we find out about his affair, he seems genuinely upset and repentant for his actions towards Daisy/Eva and Sheila. He is very truthful and it looks as if the Inspector is getting through to him and making him see the consequences his actions have. Gerald does seem suspicious of the Inspector and we begin to as well, he asks 'How do you know that?' when the Inspector tells of Eva's actions after the affair ended. This again shows his supernatural quality knowing little details about the characters that a normal person would not know. Mrs Birling comes after Gerald for the questioning by the Inspector. She swans into the room and tries to put the Inspector in his "place" as she sees it. She tells the Inspector he 'is a trifle impertinent' and she tries to keep him as downtrodden as possible, his reaction to this is to be harsh with her and he certainly doesn't spare her feelings. ...read more.

Conclusion

Whoever or whatever he is isn't really important, although it does add dramatic effect and tension to the play. The real reason Priestly created the Inspector was not to judge the characters in the play, but to make them change their ways that views like Mr Birling's can be dangerous. He is the little voice within every one of us, the conscience and the reason and the compassion we all have. He brings new concepts to the family and certainly Eric and Sheila learn about social responsibility and the moral thing to do. He teaches that people can't and shouldn't live their lives without thinking and caring about one another; they should look hard at themselves and think about what they say and do. He has an independent point of view and this was needed, he may not have been truthful about his identity but he was a great 'tool' for Priestly to show us we never know where our consequences might lead, we certainly see this at the end of the play. As Sheila said 'He inspected us all right' and he unquestionably did. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sam Mulholland 16/01/05 ...read more.

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