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Essay on 'An Inspector Calls' - Discuss the Representation of the Inspector.

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Introduction

Essay on 'An Inspector Calls' Discuss the Representation of the Inspector In the play 'An Inspector Calls' the Inspector is one of the main characters. He is the one who brings to light exactly what the Birlings have done. We first meet him just after the beginning of Act 1, after Arthur Birling has made his big speeches on war, politics and money. When Inspector Goole, as he is called, enters he is described as 'not a big man, but he creates at once an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness'. He is described as being in his fifties, 'dressed in a plain darkish suit of the period'. We are told that he speaks 'carefully, weightily and has a disconcerting habit of looking hard at the person he addresses before actually speaking'. When he enters, the light changes from a nice, warm pink to a bright white, implying he is going to shed light on what they have done. He has also made it a more interrogational atmosphere. His name, Inspector Goole, suggests that he might be a ghost. He could be the ghost of Eva Smith's dead child, or he could be a ghost from the future, from 1945 when the play was written. This is shown in the modern interpretation of the play, which is currently being shown in London. In this the Inspector arrives through the audience, suggesting he is on their side. More importantly he is wearing a Trenchcoat and carrying a Cardboard Suitcase, a 'Demob' outfit, which soldiers who left the army after World War II were given. This suggests he is a time traveller as he starts in the year 2000 by going through the audience and he enters 1912 by going up onto the stage where the Birlings are, but he is from 1945 because of his clothing. This all, however, is pretentious as we are never told who the Inspector really is, where he comes from, and why he's there. There are lots of theories. ...read more.

Middle

Someone had to pay the price for the rich being so greedy and this was the Working Class. During the Victorian and Edwardian Eras, the Working Class were continuously exploited for the benefit of the Upper Class. The Working Class, the "millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths" had to work in extremely poor conditions, often for over ten hours a day, non-stop with only half an hour break for lunch. For this they only got paid a pittance, on average twenty-two shillings and sixpence. As Birling put it they were more concerned in keeping "labour costs low, and production levels high". The pittance the workers were paid could be reduced even more because if the workers did not keep to strict and sometimes unnecessary rules, they would be fined. These fines ranged from one penny, which is a 1/2 penny now, for making noise, to one shilling that is five pence today, for using bad language. The list was endless. In addition to this there was no National Health Service, no Workers Rights and no Welfare State . This was something Priestley strongly disagreed with as he was a strong socialist and he wrote the play as a warning to people in 1945 and after not to ever consider going back to the way things were in 1912. Goole has strong intentions to find out what part each character has had to play in Eva's downfall. However, he has not exactly set out to administer blame and to work out who is the guiltiest. It is more probable that he has set out to make each character realise the error of their ways and to try to make them change. He does realise that he will have more effect on the younger element of the family, and he says "we often find that with the younger ones". This is said after he has caused Sheila to run out, and has seen that she will change her ways Goole has tried many ways to force the family to change. ...read more.

Conclusion

Sheila and Eric would side with him, going against their parents. I would, however, have Gerald starting to see what he has done wrong, but then refusing to realise what he has done and refusing to change and reverting back to the way he was. Then, why should Gerald change when he has prospered in the Edwardian Era? Why should he risk all that by changing? Eric would also be a bit harder for the Inspector to crack at the start. This would add more variety to the play, because now it is Sybil who is the only one he has trouble with and the play follows a sort of repetitive chain, where a character is given the facts, they first refuse to see what they have done, then the Inspector wins them over. If there were more variety, it would make the play more interesting for the audience. The play is a 'well made play' - it flows quickly in 'real time'; it takes the time it would to complete a family interrogation in the real world, to complete it in the play; from beginning to middle to end, with no flashbacks or skipping of parts. It can also be referred to as a 'Medieval Morality Play' where a character represents one or more of the 'Seven Deadly Sins'. Sheila represents Jealously, Eric represents Lust and Sloth, Sybil represents Pride, Arthur represents Greed and Anger, and Gerald represents Lust and Greed. I think the play would have passed the message across to the audience watching it, the message being never to return to the days of the Victorian and Edwardian Eras. However, I feel that the people who really needed to watch the play so they got the message never to return to 1912 would be the rich who went away to Canada during the war. They will still try to uphold their old, antiquated values of the class system and live as they have before, and will not go and see the play because it was written by a "socialist crank" as Arthur Birling put it. Glen Tooke 1 ...read more.

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