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An Inspector Calls - The role of the Inspector

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With close reference to the text, analyse the role of the 'Inspector' in 'An Inspector Calls' by J. B. Priestley. 'An Inspector Calls' was written in 1945 and was set in 1912, two years prior to World War I. This is a significant matter as Priestley sets up the characters in his play to be at the height of optimism. He does this so, upon the arrival of the Inspector and his destructive path the Birling family would have a lot further to fall when they each get knocked down. 1912 was a time of peace and optimism and it was common knowledge that Britain could go down one of two roads; advances in technology, improved economy etc or that path that is feared later on in 1938, War. Of course as the reader from 2006 we know that War is the path Britain will choose. It is a significant fact that the reader knows about the upcoming war. This is because it shows us just how arrogant Mr Birling is, when he announces to the whole family that we are entering an age of prosperity and peace (Act One Page 6 "You'll hear some people say War is inevitable. ...read more.


as the Inspector soon points out what she has done that infringes his moral policy, he is assisted by Sheila who has now sided with the Inspector to attempt to benefit herself. The Inspectors sums up all of the Birling's moral faults on pages 56-57 in a short speech embellished with emotive powerful language and phrases. "One Eva Smith has gone, but there are millions and millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with us... who's lives are in some way intertwined with ours." This powerful statement has shown how the Birlings have failed to server their country and been selfish and morally out of order. They have caused the death by depravation of someone who was intertwined with them through there desire for capitalist gain. On page 59 Eric makes the Statement "He was our police inspector all right." This almost perfectly sums up the Inspector. The Inspector was a tailor made character sent by the author to destroy the Birlings. Secondly we must examine closely the possibility that the Inspector is there to act as the voice of Socialism. At Various points during the play the Inspector make rash statements about the injustice of the capitalist era and how it is the duty of those in better ways to support those who are struggling. ...read more.


Sheila comments on this on page 60 when she says "We hardly ever told him anything he didn't already know, did you notice that?" In the Inspector's final speech on page 56 he refers to the fact that if men do not learn to abolish this primitive childish capital era then in blood fire and anguish then the lesson will be taught to them. This is clearly a representation figure of speech pointing to the tragedies of World War II this shows his knowledge of future events and lays further evidence supporting his role as a visitor from the future. In conclusion I would say that the Inspectors role in J. B. Priestley's 'An Inspector Calls' is as a representative of 1945's shifting society that is sent to try and defeat capitalist family the Birlings who represent the capitalist giant, Britain and avert World War II and send Britain down a better path. All the evidence presented points strongly to this. The Authors socialist beliefs, the morality of the Inspector, the Inspectors socialist representation and his knowledge of the Birlings and the future all point clearly to this social Inspector who I many ways differs from your average policeman, one may say. Danny Varley ?? ?? ?? ?? Danny Varley - 4268 - Wootton Upper School - 15169 - 'An Inspector Calls' ...read more.

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