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How does Priestley use the character of the inspector in the "Inspector Calls"?

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Introduction

Inspector Calls Essay - Zohaib Khan How does Priestley use the character of the inspector in the "Inspector Calls"? The character of the inspector, in Priestley's play is used to interfere with the social conscience of the upper class characters of the play. He tries to make them realise their faults, greed and self centred natures are no longer acceptable. Mr Birling, a hard-headed no nonsense employer was forced by the inspector to rethink how his views and actions would affect his employee's existence. From this information I can see that Mr Birling does not believe in human rights which make him snobbish, "We were paying the usual rates and if they didn't like these rates, they could go and work somewhere else. It's a free country". On the other hand Mrs Birling was warned against her superiority complex when abusing her position as a head if a charity for the unfortunate. Her rejection of Eva's desperate plea for help from the committee was because she was "giving herself ridiculous airs" and was manipulated by the inspector to show her lack of compassion of caring. The social conscience of Gerald was cleverly revealed by the inspector when establishing that he had a "kept woman", Daisy Renton, even without showing him the picture. ...read more.

Middle

Their social standing was not used against the inspectors authorities status, where as their parents did. The non threatening approach with the younger generation generated additional information for the inspector. "This isn't the time to pretend that Eric isn't used to drink. He's been steadily drinking too much for the last year", Sheila openly criticises her mother's attempts to cover up Eric's dysfunctional (anti social) behaviour. The staging played a main part indirectly sending messages as props at significant parts of the play. When I went to watch the play live, I noticed that the inspector stood at a lower level of the stage than the Birlings, but as they gradually exposed their sins, the inspector and the Birlings ended at the same level. This shows that they weren't above everyone but a normal family who thought they were. I also noticed that at the start of the play the inspector appears 'out of the blue' from the audience, which means that he is representing audience in a way against the Birling's so the spectators play a huge piece as part of the staging. The inspector stood near a huge lamp post with great shining light most of the time in the play. ...read more.

Conclusion

No longer are the high classes allowed to remain corrupt above the law and reasonably unquestioned to capture these points the inspector warns, "One Eva Smiths gone - but there are millions and millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with us", Priestley uses the character the inspector most effectively but cautiously. He endeavours to make the Birlings develop a conscience cause an effect and that their roles were instrumental in the cause and effect upon Eva's short life. He was symbolising the political views of Priestley's at the time of writing. My Opinion is that I think the high class people in society should not take advantage of their partition, change a decision on the exclusion of a child because of knowing the chairman of the governors for example. Priestley used similar situations to enlighten the Birlings that they could no longer rely on status alone for security, although Mr Birling was in line for a knighthood but the inspector questioned him both formally and directly showing no regard. Without the inspector being portrayed in the duel way the play would have lacked the message of equality amongst the social statuses. I thought this play portrayed through its character a lack of comparison which came together in a climactic ending almost like a cliff-hanger or a Day of Judgment type warning! ...read more.

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