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An Inspector Calls - What is the role of your chosen character in the play?

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English Coursework 20th Century Drama An Inspector Calls What is the role of your chosen character in the play? An Inspector Calls is set in the year 1912 but was written by J.B. Priestley in 1940, during the Second World War. Priestley had witnessed the suffering, torture and discrimination of the working-class people who lived throughout the two World Wars and the years that lay in between. Priestley's experiences had influenced him to expose his thoughts and opinions during the course of the play. These are expressed through the various roles played by the Inspector. Arthur Birling an affluent businessman, is holding a family dinner to celebrate his daughter's engagement to Gerald Croft, who himself is the son of a very prosperous businessman. Into this scene intervenes a police Inspector, investigating the suicide of a young working-class woman. The Inspector plays very important roles in this play. Without the Inspector, none of the characters encounter with Eva Smith (or otherwise known as Daisy Renton) would have ever come into the open. For this very reason the Inspector is known as the catalyst for the events of the play. Whilst Birling is summing up his views on politics and society, the Inspector rings the bell and cuts off Birlings speech mid-way and Birling never gets to finish his speech. ...read more.


Moreover, a typical policeman would have interviewed each person separately, this goes to prove that the Inspectors aim was to show the others what they have done. Another unusual quality that lies within the Inspector is that he is more concerned about criminal law than moral law. But the Inspector deeply believes moral values. He tells the characters: 'If you are easy with me, I'm easy with you' He his here conveying that that you should do unto others as you would want them to do unto you. He also shows that he has love and pity for those who are willing to accept their responsibility, however not to the extent that of forgiveness. After all 'the girls dead though'. Despite the fact that the Birlings and Gerald are very important figures in society, the Inspector walks in and in seconds manages to take total control. Yet he doesn't control their reaction and how they are affected by the girl's death. 'No, wait a minute, Miss Birling', 'Then I'd prefer you to stay' He makes them speak when he wants them to, he makes them stay when he wants them to and makes the decision as to who will see the photographs and who won't. 'The Inspector interposes himself between them and the photograph' The Inspector's name Goole is onomatopoeic because it sounds like 'ghoul', a ghoul being a spirit which takes fresh life from corpses and we can definitely say that the Inspector's existence is the result of the girl's death. ...read more.


In his final speech the Inspector is speaking to the Birlings as well as to the audience. He wants to teach us a lesson that we shouldn't be selfish and should be aware of others around us and how we are affecting the lives of other individuals. As this play was set during the Second World War, Priestley would have witnessed the suffering and deaths of normal people during the Wars. The Inspector uses his last words as a warning to the audience that we shouldn't repeat the selfish mistakes that led to the 'fire and blood and anguish' of the two World Wars. The Inspector had been created to question the values held by the Birling family and Gerald. This gave us an insight as to what were the moral values of the upper-class before any historical catastrophes took place (i.e. sinking of the Titanic, World war one etc). It also showed us how narrowed minded and self-centred people can be and as a result dramatically affect the lives of others. J.B. Priestly left the story as a cliff hanger because I think he wanted us to realise the significance of the influence we have on others lives and to make us think about our moral values and social obligations. Moreover he employs the Inspector to make us understand that our selfish acts have consequences, not only on us but most importantly on others. ?? ?? ?? ?? Batool Rafay 10 CK ...read more.

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