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How Does Priestly Present the Character of Mr.Goole in An Inspector Calls?

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How Does Priestley Present the Character of Inspector Goole? *Inspector Goole id the main character in the play An Inspector Calls which was written by J.B. Priestley in 1945 (after the two world wars) however was set in 1912 (just before the first war) a time when politics and the economy were just starting to re-establish themselves .It can be interpreted in many ways: one of which is as a murder mystery, however I feel there is much more to the plot than "who dun it" there is an awful lot of underlying political messages and promotion of the socialist outlook on economy and morals and negative portrayal of capitalism. This is produced by the juxtaposed opinions and ideologies of the Birlings (a capitalist family who, at first seem to be purely egotistical) and the inspector (a socialist man who comes to demonstrate to the Birlings how selfish they have been, and their negative effect on the world around them). * Inspector Goole enters the play about ten pages in. He casts a shadow over the Birlings sunny celebration, and immediately taints the image of perfection that priestly has previously bestowed upon the Birlings. Wearing a "plain darkish suit", being of a neutral age and having no outstanding features or characteristics, he is at first presented as a blank canvas, onto which Priestly can paint any picture and bestow any qualities. ...read more.


Although their first instinct is to fear this atypical man, whose philosophy and teachings completely contradicted all they had ever been taught and revealed the cracks in not just their father's opinions but the basis and foundation that their family is built on. To be afraid of the only man who had outwardly ignored her father's political banter and seemed to know too much to be normal: "I hate to think how much he knows that we don't know yet. You'll see. You'll see." Shelia's reptilian of "you'll see" indicates a deep foreboding, and also highlights Shelia's acute analysis of the situation in hand. Shelia is able to interpret more than her father and mother, she can tell that this man knows more than any of them could ever imagine, however has Sheila has not yet developed the confidence to outwardly say this. By the end of act two both Eric and Shelia's eyes have been opened to the inspector's socialist message. They have come accustom to his unusual manner and are no longer uncomfortable with the fact that the inspector does not seem to respect their father in the way of most. They (Shelia especially) have started to empathise with those of other classes and, with the inspector's encouragement, have realised that being of a different class does not mean you can't feel: "don't you understand? And if I could help her now I would." ...read more.


Priestly intentionally does not give you any information of background about the inspector; you are left to make your own uncertain presumptions, and results in you continually questioning: exactly who he is. When he first enters the play, the use of brief, short to the point sentences mean that the audience is given no clue to who he is. "You're new aren't you?" Mr. Birling. "Only recently transferred." The Inspector. This empty reply gives no detail in fact it hardly provides sufficient information to be a legitimate response. Where in the case of most characters Priestley would have used this question as an opportunity to reveal and explain a little more about the character; in the case of the inspector he uncovers nothing. This pattern stays constant throughout the play. Moments where questions about the inspector may arise are avoided; if unavoidable the reply is as concise and vague as possible. The inspector may have been exposed as a fake; however this does not change the phenomenal, if not temporary effect he had on the Birlings (and Eric). He is used as a moral inspector. "He was our police inspector alright." Eric. Eric is referring to the effect the inspector had on the atmosphere in Birling household and the disturbance he caused in what was a happily shallow and ignorant socialist family. He is contrasting political ideology that questions all that the Birling stood for. The character of the inspector is used to conger doubt of the Birlings ideal of perfection in the minds of the younger generation and the audience. ...read more.

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