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An Inspector calls - What is the function of the inspector within the whole play?

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Lacy Beare 10.15 Thursday 1st May 2003 An Inspector calls GCSE Coursework Assignment What is the function of the inspector within the whole play? In this easy my intention is to examine the ways in which J.B Priestley has used the character of the inspector to try and persuade the other characters to admit their own responsibilities. I will explain how he does this by the impression he makes and the purpose of his presence. J.B Priestley was born in Bradford, Yorkshire on the 13th September 1894. Priestley experienced living through the First World War and was influenced by this in his writing. He was very aware of social problems that existed, these involved the miners strike, poverty, women's rights and the outbreak of the war, and this encouraged him to continue with the writing of his plays. 'An Inspector Calls' was written in 1945 and first performed in 1946. The play is set in 1912; this date is significant because it is just before the First World War, this was to highlight the wrongs in society. ...read more.


The Inspector also talks about all the Eva smiths and Johns smiths in the world, saying they are ordinary people and their lives are intertwined with others whether they like it or not. He also uses language like 'us' 'we' and 'our' as though he is talking to everyone and not just one person quote, 'we don't live alone. We are all members of one body. We are responsible of each other.' This speech is very effective in that it reflects J.B.Priestleys own views on war and contrasts strongly with Birlings views which were stated at the beginning of the play. With Birlings speech at the start the inspector's speech at the end this really balances the play, and leaves the audience going out of the theatre thinking of the inspector's words and not Mr Birlings. The inspector is a crucial to the plot and the structure of this play. The plot is very simple a middle-class family are celebrating the engagement of Shelia (the daughter) ...read more.


Priestley uses the inspector to expose the audience's involvement in the wrongs in society, this then makes them question and even possible begin to acknowledge their responsibilities just as the characters on stage do. After the inspector exits the stage, the characters become guideless as if they are saying 'what do we do now?' Like the characters on stage, some of the audience will settle back into their attitudes that they had at the beginning of the play and some will have changed, they will walk out of the theatre and try to change themselves and pass this on to their children and hopefully make society better. To conclude the Inspector is very good in the way he conducts himself and controls everything that is said and done on the stage. He is a tool to get the authors beliefs across to the audience, in the way that he makes the characters confess and accept responsibility for their own actions. The inspector is there to allow the characters to change, to allow the audience to change and to finally see what their roles in society are. ...read more.

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