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Comment on the purpose and the approach of the Inspector

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Comment on the purpose and the approach of the Inspector From the Inspector's very first appearance, it is clear that he is an unusual person. Although he fits all the pictures of the average policeman of that day, he has certain traits that stand him out from others. His name 'Goole' is a good example of this. It an extremely unheard-of name, and is seen as a play on words. 'Goole' of course, sounding like 'ghoul' - a ghost or paranormal thing. Ghouls are linked with death and are described in dictionaries as 'someone morbidly interested in death', which the Inspector certainly was. He was more than willing to, and frequently did, speak of and describe Eva Smith's death. He used it to disturb or frighten his interviewees, to get them to talk more. He uses his descriptions to bring to light the evil in the Birling household. He acts like a policeman of conscience to the Birlings. The inspector's role in the play is not simply to confront each character with the truth, but to force each character to admit the truth that they already know. He works steadily through the family members present, including Gerald, one at a time, partly because he recognizes that "otherwise, there's a muddle", and partly because, given the chance, the family are quick to defend each other against the inspector's accusations in order to avoid accepting the truth of what he suggests. ...read more.


The Inspector has a moral side which makes him different from an ordinary policeman. He is more concerned with what is right and wrong, than what is legal or illegal. He sternly tells Birling, for example, that "it's better to ask for the earth than to take it". But he also tells the characters that "if you're easy with me, I'm easy with you". These statements show that he has compassion for those who are willing to accept their responsibility, but will not show them any sign of forgiveness. After all, "the girl's still dead though", whatever they may realise and he forgive them for. The inspector controls the development of events: who will speak and when; who may or may not leave; who will or will not see the photograph. Priestly describes the Inspector, when he first appears on stage, in terms of 'massiveness, solidity and purposefulness'; symbolizing the fact that he is an unstoppable force within the play. His 'disconcerting habit of looking hard at the person he addresses before speaking', gives the impression that he is able to see through the outside appearance of a person to the real being underneath. It also gives him a thoughtfulness that contrasts with the thoughtlessness of each character's treatment of the girl. The Inspector is the catalyst for the events of the play; without him, none of the characters' secrets would ever have been revealed to each other, or anyone else for that matter, for a variety of reasons. ...read more.


We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will soon come when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish. Good night." This to me says that the inspector's main goal that night was to make the household aware of the fact that they can affect millions of people's lives by the simplest of actions, and that they must all be careful in life with how they lead it and how they treat others. I think that Priestly intended the inspector's speech to be spoken facing the audience, rather than the family. Because I believe that Priestly himself hoped to teach all of his audiences a lesson in respect and community values. This speech was not only part of the play, but also part of priestly's wishes in life. He wanted people to realise these things and become a civil community. He also gives a threat through the inspector of "fire and blood and anguish" if people do not mend their ways. I think Priestly was warning of more war, after the two that had just gone, if people didn't stop ignoring one another. It is a very powerful warning to give, and I think Priestly hoped by giving threat of such a horrible and evil thing as war, people would sit up and listen to his views and take the socialist movement he was a part of far more seriously. ...read more.

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