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How does Priestley use Inspector Goole to put across his views about the world he lived in?

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How does Priestley use Inspector Goole to put across his views about the world he lived in? The play is set at the turn of the century and is centred on a wealthy family who are successful and prosperous at a time of poverty for many. They are oblivious to this, and given the fact that the play was written many years later the play contains much irony about the future, but not only does it make it question our history but also our future. The inspector is portrayed as being the champion of socialism, he is there to symbolise Priestley's views. Essentially Priestley uses biased representations of capitalism, and socialism, reflected with Birling, and inspector Goole, to prepare the reader for his conclusive message. Priestley conveys this message of responsibility towards others in many ways throughout the play. He also criticises his views on the society at the time by using each of the other characters as dramatic devices to, symbolically, convey his message. Priestley was writing in 1945, while the play was set in 1912 even before the war. Priestley introduces the play right after the world war hence reminding the readers and viewers of the situations before the war. He compares these social situations of 1912 with 1945. His message contrasts these two periods of time with the help of inspector Goole. ...read more.


The play does have some surreal points it, for example how did the Inspector know that, "two hours ago a young girl dies in the Infirmary" when she hadn't actually died yet? This is an example of the play being both realistic but also pushing the boundaries of realism to make a social point to those viewing. The inspector has various effects on the characters. The scope and range of inspector Goole's questions surprise the others. This can be seen when he makes judgments about their characters which makes them feel unusual in a police inspector. Furthermore, the inspector undermines the assumption that the others think of themselves being respectable citizens which too adds to their surprise. Mr. Birling is the first to be questioned by the inspector. Mr. Birling talks very diplomatically possibly because he feels important being a successful business man. He seems to try to justify the inspector's questions stating they were unnecessary: 'a quite unnecessary question too.' The inspector seems to have been able to create tension and pressure on Mr. Birling, making him confess indirectly. Eric also helps on building this pressure on Mr. Birling by supporting the inspector's comments: 'He could have kept her on instead of throwing her out. ...read more.


Eva herself is conveyed as a character which the audience will have sympathy for and is revealed as more honest and respectable than the Birlings. The manner in which the Inspector forces the characters to make confessions without presenting much to incriminate them: ''you needn't give me any rope.' 'No, he's giving us rope - so that we'll hang ourselves'' and the effect they have on relationships in the family is portrayed effectively by Priestley. Every scene has a purpose and everything is revealed in an order. Each character's action and guilt is worse than the person who was questioned before. Therefore to conclude, in the last part of the play: 'And I tell you that the time will soon come when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will he taught it in fire and blood and anguish. Good night.' the flesh and bones of it all. This is the end of the line. We as a society have to make a change now, or we can never change the attitudes of the world. The world is currently in a time of great change. The change is greatly mechanical, but the change also needs to be human. We have to change or the world will be divided, and destroyed. It also conveys the message about telling our true feelings - we tend to hide them. ...read more.

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