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Discuss the dramatic function of the inspector in the play as a whole.

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Discuss the dramatic function of the inspector in the play as a whole. When we first hear of the Inspector in the play 'An Inspector calls', it brings a rather dampening view on the audience of the play, as an Inspector is usually related to something bad. The Inspectors name is Inspector 'Goole', which stirs thoughts and images of ghosts amongst the audience. In times of when the play of 'An Inspector calls' was set, there was a huge aspect of class. The upper class looked down on the lower class, so there were huge gaps between classes and it was thought not to be a 'done thing' for them to mix with members of the lower class. Eva Smith was a lower class than the Birlings, so this meant that if anything were found out to be going on between her and a Birling, they would be the centre of gossip. The Inspector in the play unprivileged, poor lower class. He does this by hearing from each member of the Birling family their own account of what their connection with Eva Smith was, and gradually showing how the activities of the Birlings can be seen as worse than those of a class lower ...read more.


Priestley's idea for the Inspector in the play is not only to impel the characters to examine their consciences but also to make them examine their true character. This is not only evident with Mr Birling, but also with Mrs Birling.. At the beginning of the play, we see her as a truly glamorous woman, whose attitude and air are those of a very high class lady. She tells her story to the Inspector and refuses to accept any guilty feeling towards her dismissal of Eva Smith at the Brumley Women's Charity Organisation. She is determined to stick to her views and is prejudiced against the lower class. However, the Inspector continues to pursue asking her questions, such as, 'You admit being prejudiced against her case?' and, 'Was it or was it not your influence? '. This seems to have an effect on Mrs Birling as she becomes more agitated, and the audience can see the change from being a strong, self-righteous character, to being a powerless and cowardly one. The Inspector has gradually been able to get all the characters to admit what they've done, such as when the Inspector says to Sheila, 'Well, Miss Birling?' ...read more.


Inspector 'Goole' immediately suggests that he has a ghost-like presence. A ghost is something that we tend to associate with the dead and with the past, so this is a hint to the audience as to what he might be 'calling' about. The last speech that the Inspector makes (p.g.56) is very moralistic. He uses the first person in a plural way, to suggest that he is involving everyone around him when he is making this speech. He is advising the Birling's on how to act on their consciences and be a better person for it in the future. Although he is personally speaking to the Birling's, the speech can also be seen as a moral to all people reading or watching the play. He uses words that relate to everyone, such as 'hopes, fears and suffering', which everyone experiences at some point in their lives. In the version of the play that I saw, the Inspector turned and faced the audience when making this speech. He took very long pauses in between sentences to allow the audience to digest and think about what he has just said. He is doing this to allow the audience to understand that what he is directing to the Birling's, he is saying and meaning to people in general. Alexandra Corbet-Milward 10RA ...read more.

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