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Examine the role of the Inspector Goole in "An Inspector Calls" and comment on what Priestly reveals about his own society

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Examine the role of the Inspector Goole in "An Inspector Calls" and comment on what Priestly reveals about his own society. J.P Priestley "An Inspector Calls" was written in 1945 but however he decided to set it in late 1912. He deliberately set this play in 1912 because the date represented an era when all was very different form the time he was writing. In 1912, rigid class and gender boundaries seemed to ensure that nothing would change. Yet by 1945 most of those class and gender divisions had been breached. Writing this play during this later stage provided the audience with the power of hindsight and allowed them to wonder about the idea of how people reacted to the sense of war and other relations. During the action of this play a number of victims are interrogated but mainly I shall talk about the interrogator "Inspector Goole." As doing so I shall explore the role played by the Inspector as a number of mysteries are ravelled about him. I will also comment on what Priestley reveals about his own society through his creation of the inspector. The opening stage directions indicate to us how Priestley determines the way he wishes the play to be presented. Before we are introduced to any of the main characters Priestley describes how he wants the lighting to be displayed. "The lighting should be pink and intimate:" this helps to reinforce the initially rose-tinted mood. He is highlighting how well off this family are, in excitement and happiness for each other. He speaks about how the dinning table is created, placing on it champagne glasses, cigar box and cigarettes, but later as we know their whole plan of a celebration is about to be destroyed. As Mr Birling talks about "you'd think everybody has to look after everybody else, as if we were al mixed up, together like bees in a hive," and interrupting his speech, the door bell rang. ...read more.


I shall now focus on how the inspector has the ability to interrogate each of his suspects and how he has a methodical way of questioning each of the characters and how he has the ability to receive any information he requires from them by using his economical choice of words. Although I have insignificant time to concentrate on all five characters, but however I shall concentrate in two in detail, which are Mrs Birling and Shelia. He interrogates them one by one in order to complete his mission and stop confusion. The first character I will focus on will be Mrs Birling. As she enters the room she enters "briskly and self-confidently," as if she is not going to be broken down. But as she is shown the picture of the girl the inspector straight away realises that the picture has been recognised. "It's an organisation to which women in distress can appeal for help in various forms. Isn't that so?" At this particular point there was no wealth fare state and so people turned to charities and organisations for help. This is one of the questions that begin to break down Mrs Birling, which she fails to realise. Priestley is getting his own political views across and criticising the government for failing to provide for the less fortunate members of society. Afterwards the inspector asks questions that begin to frustrate and put Mrs Birling under pressure so from this he receives the information by his economical use of questions. As time moves forwards the inspector keeps his victim's case under control and massively takes charge as he is constantly being interrupted which tells this family that they will all gain the equal amount of respect no matter who the characters are. At Eva Smith's death we get a glimpse at society at the time through each of the characters. Through the inspector and as Mrs Birling is one of his suspects he is attempting to show his attitude towards human morality and responsibility. ...read more.


This quote identifies that the inspector has had a huge impact upon Sheila and has been successful in her case as being her conscience and made her face up to her responsibility. But compared to the older ones they take his true identity nothing but a joke and put the young girl's death behind them and build another fa�ade. We can be optimistic that the young-those who will shape the future society are able to take on board the inspector's message. "We've all been had." Ultimately we find out the inspectors true identity nearing the end of the play and it makes us wonder, who is the inspector? Well first of all Priestley was concerned with social inequality. Priestley was so concerned that he did all he could to set up a political party called "The common wealth party." He wanted public ownership of land, greater democracy and new morality. His party soon merged with the labour party and soon developed the wealth fair state. Priestley may have also thinking partly about the World War they had just lived through - the result of government's blindly pursuing "national interest" at all costs. Well who was the inspector? I believe the he represents Priestley's strong moral view. The moral dimension of allowing people like the Birlings to see that they can find forgiveness through future good. Behaviour makes Goole different from the normal policeman. He is more concerned with morality than legality. Inspector Goole is what puts the structure of this play together. Not only does he teach the characters on stage a lesson but also kept the audience engraced and full of tension and suspense throughout, from beginning to end. As a dramatist he has the skill to provoke thought and debate throughout the world. Priestley made the audience understand that the ruling classes saw no need to change the status quo but afterwards there was a great desire for social change. Since Priestley's creation of the inspector, times and situations have changed massively since 1945. ?? ?? ?? ?? Darren Breslin 11F ...read more.

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