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Explore the function of Inspector Goole in ‘An Inspector Calls’

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Introduction

Explore the function of Inspector Goole in 'An Inspector Calls' The play 'An Inspector Calls' explores the relationships between a middle-class family and the secrets they hide from each other. It is set in 1912 at a time of social upheaval and uncertainty, World War One was soon to break out and in the years to follow, strikes and general change was to happen. In Brumly, where the play is set, however, things (according to Mr Birling) are going well. Business is booming as industry progressed, the Titanic sailed the year after the play was set and it was a great feat of engineering even if it did sink. Social differences appeared more and more, the gap between upper-class and working class people became wider and the rich got richer and the poor became poorer. The Inspector is of a lower class than the Birlings and Gerald but he is the main character in the play. He interrogates, examines and inspects throughout the play. Because of his very defined way of carrying out his investigation he is a very mysterious character. This feeling intensifies as the play comes to an end- we the audience feel there is something not quite right about him and our feelings are mirrored in the dialogue at the end. The inspector is the righteous, assertive character who knows what he wants and how to get it,.He believes in helping others and being treated equally. I think some of Priestly's own views and opinions show in the Inspector.I think this is deliberate because at the time the play was written and performed, Priestly is expressing his hopes for a more equal and fair future after the Second World War. ...read more.

Middle

Mr Birling really only cares about himself and although he thinks it is 'Shame' the girl died, he can't see the bigger picture. When it is unearthed that there wasn't a girl, any changes that were happening are forgotten, he sinks back into his old ways of selfishness and greed. He is blinkered into thinking of himself and his own interests. The rest of the characters are very different to Mr Birling in some ways and the same in others. Sheila is a girl in her early twenties, she is pleased with life because of her engagement to Gerald and she is clearly excited. She comes across as a bubbly person but a bit immature and frivolous. Gerald on the other hand appears worldly wise and quite grown up. He seems just as excited as Sheila about their marriage however but he has similar values as Mr Birling. Sheila's brother Eric is a strange character - he seems not totally at ease and quite shy. He does stand up to his father though and becomes opinionated at times. Finally Mrs Birling is a cold woman who doesn't lower herself often and never stops thinking about herself and her family. She does however seem happy about the engagement. This is the way the characters appear to the audience in the first part of the play, some of their attitudes change as they are questioned by the Inspector. After Mr Birling, Sheila is questioned. She starts off being slightly na�ve, asking 'was it an accident?' ...read more.

Conclusion

He wants to teach them a lesson and has been trying to do so since he arrived, to change views and prejudices is the main function of the Inspector. Who the Inspector is, remains a mystery. Some people think he is a ghost or a spirit, while others think he could be a relative of the real girl who dies. Whoever or whatever he is isn't really important, although it does add dramatic effect and tension to the play. The real reason Priestly created the Inspector was not to judge the characters in the play, but to make them change their ways that views like Mr Birlings can be dangerous. He is the little voice within every one of us, the conscience and the reason and the compassion we all have. He brings new concepts to the family and certainly Eric and Sheila learn about social responsibility and the moral thing to do. He teaches that people can't and shouldn't live their lives without thinking and caring about one another, they should look hard at themselves and think about what they say and do. He has an independent point of view and this was needed, he may not have been truthful about his identity but he was a great 'tool' for Priestly to show us we never know where our consequences might lead, we certainly see this at the end of the play. As Sheila said 'He inspected us all right' and he unquestionably did. By Suzie Crowe ...read more.

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