• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"How far is the Inspector an 'embodiment of a collective conscience' (Gareth Lloyd Evans)?" Consider the Ways in Which JB Priestley Develops the Inspector's Dramatic Impact in the Play

Extracts from this document...


"How far is the Inspector an 'embodiment of a collective conscience' (Gareth Lloyd Evans)?" Consider the Ways in Which JB Priestley Develops the Inspector's Dramatic Impact in the Play In this essay I will consider the way in which JB Priestley presents the character of the Inspector and how he develops his role throughout the play. I will study the Inspectors role through each Act, in detail, and the effect of his presence and questioning on the Birling Family group. I will also look at how far Priestley displays the Inspector as 'an embodiment of a collective conscience'. In Act One, from the point of entry the Inspector begins to affect the family group. He enters at a critical point during Mr. Birling's speech when he sums up his ideas and thoughts on how "A man has to mind his own business and look after his own" (p.10). This speech shows Birling for who he really is; rather pompous, opinionated, bombastic and self-centered, and also makes the audience aware that he will be the main opposition to the Inspector. As soon as the Inspector enters the atmosphere of the room changes, Priestley shows in the stage directions that 'the lighting should be pink and intimate until the Inspector arrives, and then it should be brighter and harder'. ...read more.


The tension builds as Mrs. Birling tries to shun her responsibility and is unaware of what is going to happen next. Also, Priestley made it so that the Inspector interrogated Mrs. Birling before Eric, when if in the correct chronological order it should have been the other way, to create suspense. The implications become clear, everyone is involved. Eric is the father of Eva's child. By the end of this Act the Inspector has full control over the family and there is a reversal of roles. The Inspector is the one giving the orders, even a silent hand gesture manages to silence the family. Mr. Birling is no longer bombastic but worried; he looks a fool and cannot express himself. He has lost his authority and shows fear at finding the truth out of his control. "Don't stammer and yammer at me again, man."(p.46). The Inspector has had a dramatic effect on Sheila especially, and Gerald whereas the older generation, even though badly shaken, still don't quite seem to grasp the concept of the Inspectors presence. In Act Three Eric returns and the whole story is revealed. Realisation finally dawns for the Birling's, especially for Mrs. Birling who thought her family was above any scandal like this and the audience can begin to sense the alienation of Eric from the family. ...read more.


(p.24). He knows all about Eva Smith's past life and what the Birling's have done and never seems surprised or shocked by what he hears. Even though the Inspector is supposed to be a police officer he always seems more concerned about morality than legality, for example he doesn't make a single move at finding out that Eric has been stealing. Overall I can see that Inspector Goole is 'an embodiment of a collective conscience (Gareth Lloyd Evans) because he is there to represent the characters' conscience and make them think about what they have done in the past, and make them feel guilty. Not only does he represent the consciences of the characters but Priestley has written it so that it makes the audience question their own conscience and the way they treat others. The Inspector is mysterious and seems quite supernatural, so it makes you wonder if he is real at all. This should support the idea that he represents their conscience because if he was a real person how would he know all that information about each character. Therefore I think the Inspector is the voice of all our consciences especially Priestley's and he was trying to teach the characters and the audience about how to treat others and take responsibility for their actions. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE J.B. Priestley section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE J.B. Priestley essays

  1. Inspector Calls-How Sheila Birling Changes And Develops Through The Play

    I'd been in bad mood anyhow.' This explains how Sheila abused her status and forced the manager to either sack Eva or she would never shop at Milward's again. She was jealous of her. After Sheila confessed to her part you start to see noticeable changes in her.

  2. 'An Inspector Calls' Consider the role of the inspector and the effect he has ...

    '...a man has to make his own way-has to look after himself - and his family of course, when he has one...' Here Birling is speaking for the whole social attitude of the time in which the play is set.

  1. Discuss the impact of the inspector's final speech & exit and explore why it ...

    By using 'I' the inspector portrays a sincere and serious message in the hope that by doing this the Birlings will pay attention and take notice of his message and act upon it. As well as using, 'I' Inspector Goole uses well places pauses, through the concept of comma's.

  2. How far is the Inspector "an embodiment of a collective conscience" (Gareth Lloyd Evans)? ...

    Sheila picks up on how strange a time the Inspector's entrance came at, which leaves the audience wondering whether he is a real police officer or if he is some kind or spiritual being with a moral mission to punish the selfish interest among Earth's rich.

  1. 'Inspector Goole is the ghostly voice of conscience' - How far do you agree ...

    By doing this it brings attentions to the class gap of the time, and the mentality of people like Mrs Birling, who think that anyone in a lower class is below them, she shows this by saying such things to Mr Birling as, "Arthur, you're not supposed to say such

  2. The Inspector is ‘an embodiment of a collective conscience’. How real is the character ...

    I feel that Mrs. Birling has the strongest personality out of all of the Birlings. She seems to be more in control of her conscience than the rest of the Birlings. For example Mr.

  1. How does Priestley create tension in the play through characterisation, structure and atmosphere?

    In the opening scenes of Act one the audience are given a fundamental sense of discomfort by the ironic references to the impossibility of war and to the enhancement that mankind is making, this is told to the audience by Arthur Birling making a long winded speech as ever after

  2. The inspector is an embodiment of a collective conscience" ...

    The inspector reflects the moral conscience of the characters and also reveals their role in the demise of Eva Smith (AKA Daisy Renton). An example of where the inspector acts the role of a mirror is at the beginning of act two where the inspector plays a passive role.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work