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Analyse the character of the inspector in An Inspector Calls by J.B Priestly

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Analyse the character of the inspector in An Inspector Calls by J.B Priestly The play "An Inspector Calls" is about an inspector who visits the Birling family, Mr Arthur Birling, Mrs Sybil Birling, Mr Eric Birling, Miss Sheila Birling and Sheila's fianc� Gerald Croft. This play is set in 1912, in the Edwardian era. When the Inspector enters every thing is based on him. None of the family can go any where or do any thing without his consent. As soon as the Inspector enters the Birling dining room he stands out as different because of the way he dresses. He is wearing "a plain darkish suit," whereas the other men are dressed in evening wear. As he enters, the lighting changes and this creates a sense of his importance. His character creates "an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness." The Inspector is in his fifties and speaks carefully; he looks hard at the person he addresses before speaking. The Inspector has an unusual manner and asks questions inappropriately which suggests he isn't a normal police inspector, for example, "Why... why did you refuse?" This is a strange question from a police inspector because he is questioning why Mr Birling wouldn't give the girls a pay rise. Another example would be his reply to Mrs Birling, "Some of them-yes." This is strange that a police inspector is sure of his facts as they usually go to find out if the things they know are facts but this inspector is very sure of himself. ...read more.


The character of the Inspector grows more massive and distinct as the play continues. Throughout the play the Inspector connects each individual to the girl's death and tries to get them to accept their responsibility. However, when the inspector leaves, Mr Birling forgets everything the family has learnt. He only thinks about his knighthood. When he finds out that the inspector is a fake he suddenly realises that his chances of gaining a knighthood are back. "It doesn't matter to you. Apparently nothing matters to you. But it may interest you to know until every penny of that money you stole is repaid, you'll work for nothing. And there's going to be no more of this drinking round the town - and picking up women in the palace bar -" this quote shows he feels nothing for Eva, all he cares about is the money getting repaid. He also says, "There's every excuse for what both your mother and I did" which shows that Mr Birling will not accept any blame for Eva's death and tries hard to keep the blame away from him. "Then look at the way he talked to me. Telling me to shut up and so on. He must've known I was an ex - lord. . ." Here he talks as though no one should talk down to him because he was mayor! This again shows no respect for Eva and no blame taken. Mrs Birling - is just the same as Mr Birling. ...read more.


This last speech is all about morals and the Inspector's beliefs. "But just remember this," here he says this so they listen, do remember it and maybe it will have some sort of effect on them. ". . . millions and millions and millions . . ." he says millions three times to emphasise the fact that there is a lot more not just a few but a lot. "We don't live alone. . . we are members of one body," Here his point is that they are part of a community, they should look out for each other and help each other like they do within their household and not live in separate social classes. " . . . Eva Smith's and John Smith's . . ." these are common names and show ordinary people are affected by the likes of the Birling family. "All intertwined with our lives . . ." he is expressing inter-relationships which are demonstrated by the Birlings' connections with Eva. When he walks straight out this is an abrupt departure, he has been and done what he had to do, he leaves the family to reflect and hopefully learn something from the events of the evening. The effect of the last words left the family amazed, "starring, subdued and wondering" The end of this play gives you no answers it leaves you asking your self questions; who was he? What was he? How did he know the things he did? Was it really only one girl? The Inspector was sent to the family to make them realise how unfair they were being to people less wealthy than them. J.B Priestley, through the Inspector, gives a very important message, message of socialism. ...read more.

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