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Discuss the function of the Inspector in An Inspector Calls

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Discuss the function of the Inspector in An Inspector Calls John Boynton Priestly in 1945 wrote the play 'An Inspector Calls' but set it in 1912. This time difference creates a sense of dramatic irony as the play was written after it was set. The audience would be aware of the events which had taken place between 1912 and 1945, including world war one and two which they would no doubt have experience first hand. 'An Inspector Calls' was first performed in Russia, Moscow. This is significant because of the Russian Revolution, which was a system of collective social responsibility where the sate owned everything and used the wealth to look after its citizens. As England was left destroyed due to the world war, therefore there would have been very few playhouses, so Russia had to be alternative for performing the play. The play is set in three scenes. The entire play is set in the dining room of Mr Birling's house. ...read more.


A good example of this is during Birling's speech he says the Titanic is, "absolutely unsinkable". Also in the stage directions, it says that it is a "sharp ring" and which makes Birling stop to listen. This shows that at the stage there must be some importance because it actually stops Birling talking, which creates even more tension. Just from hearing the term 'Inspector', we instantly know that this person is out to find the underlying cause of the truth. J.B priestly has cleverly used the name of inspector 'goole' for the inspector, because from "goole" sounds like "ghoul" which is a spirit in Arabic mythology, which preys on corpses (dead bodies). This applies mystery to the inspector's character and makes him sound creepy. We are aware of this in the stage directions, "he creates at once an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness". Immediately we are engaged to the serious atmosphere because as he creates an impression of, why he is here in this apparently comfortable family home. ...read more.


He knows all about Eva Smith's past life about what the Birling's have done. "He knows of course he knows and I hate to think how much he knows that we don't know yet, Are you sure you don't know". J.B Priestly purposely does not use a question mark in this quote to show that the Inspector already knows the answer. This affects the characters as they are firstly surprised on how much knowledge the inspector has and the Birlings cannot give a straight answer. The Inspector knows so much about Eva smith due to finding her diary and some letters. "I had an idea from something the girl herself wrote". At the start of the play, we are introduced to the Birlings who are no other than an upper class family. The whole family all seem to be living peacefully. Until the moment where it all begins, "It can't be any worse for me than it has been. And it might be better" Sheila says. Gerald replies, "I see". At this stage the relationship shatters and then from there on the worst is spoken by the inspector to the Birlings. ...read more.

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