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Discuss the role of the Inspector in the play. How does Priestly use him? Comment on the way the Inspector varies his treatment of the characters.

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The role of the Inspector in an 'Inspector Calls' Discuss the role of the Inspector in the play. How does Priestly use him? Comment on the way the Inspector varies his treatment of the characters. Mr Birling: Father Mrs Birling: Mother Eric: Son Sheila: Daughter Gerald: Fianc� Inspector Goole:? The play is set in the Birling family household, it is clear from the way the stage is dressed that the family is wealthy because of the extravagant furniture and decoration, their house is used as a status symbol, to show the audience they are affluent. Their house suggests that they are uncomfortable with each other, this foreshadows that they have problems, which they are trying to hide. The family are pleasant to each other because they have a guest present and are celebrating Gerald and Sheila's engagement (as we can see from the champagne). We are inclined to believe that this is for show, many things are hinted at in the opening part of the play. Such as the difference between generations, Sheila refers to Eric as 'squiffy', and Mrs Birling reprimands her for using such language, Sheila does not act in the way that her mother think young women should. There is also evidence to hint Mr and Mrs Birling also have their troubles ' When you are married you'll realise that men with important work to do sometimes spend nearly all their time and energy on their business. ...read more.


He also understands that she would want to know about Gerald's affair and insists that if she left she would 'feel she is entirely to blame!'. Gerald tries to be domineering in order to impress his future wife and in laws, he also shows exasperation when the Inspector refused to let him see the girls picture. He is not treated with warmth nor disrespect as the Inspector notices 'he at least had some affection for her and made her happy for a time'. While Gerald is telling his part of the story he is mainly questioned by Sheila. Mrs Birling like Arthur is not used to accepting criticism and whilst absent for the majority of the questioning she is unfamiliar to the Inspectors discourteous manner. The Inspector treats all the characters with the same disregard they gave Eva Smith. Eric like Sheila is quick to give socialist substitutes to what his father says. Eric gives away little information at one time; he only answers questions that he is asked. This could be because he wants to keep his problems to himself. The Inspector is benevolent with him as he obviously is upset and guilt ridden. Eric sees the Inspector as the father figure he is missing, the Inspector notices that he is going to need a drink to get him through even though Birling does not. The characters cannot hide from the truth, the Inspector acts almost as a conscience as he already seems to know the truth. ...read more.


Birling also spoke about war in his speech, which would make the audience suspect the play, was about to become troubled. This is an example of dramatic irony as the play was written in 1947 but set in 1912 so the audience knew that 2 world wars were about to happen. Priestly used different techniques to keep the audience interested, as soon as the audience began to get comfortable there is a revelation or a twist in the tale. He used these changes in the play so that the audience's concentration would not diminish. The hoax Inspector was there to punish the characters on a moral level and try to get them to change their behaviour. This was achieved with the younger generation (Eric and Sheila) but not with the elder ones (Mr and Mrs Birling and Gerald). The real Inspector was introduced to ensure that the older generation would get punished on a level they would understand. The Inspector's main purpose throughout the play was to teach. As for the whole of society, he communicated Priestly's opinions that no progress can be made if we do not work together. Those watching or reading the play today would not benefit so much as the audience as in 1947 did, as the majority of people accept the advantages of socialism over capitalism nowadays. In reference to the question to what the Inspector was there is not enough evidence for a fact supported theory to be produced, let alone an answer. I think Priestly meant for the Inspector's identity to stay a mystery forever. Stephanie Moss ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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