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In this essay, I will be analysing the character of the Inspector in the play An Inspector Calls by J B Priestley. I will be discussing his role in the play, his effect on the other characters, and his stage presence.

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In this essay, I will be analysing the character of the Inspector in the play An Inspector Calls by J B Priestley. I will be discussing his role in the play, his effect on the other characters, and his stage presence. The word Inspector suggests someone who looks closely at things, and this is his role in the events of the play. This, and the fact that Priestly recognised the Birlings would almost certainly have refused to be questioned by a common policeman, is probably the reason why the person to bring the news of Eva/Daisy's death is portrayed as an inspector. The Inspector is never given one specific identity, but there are some which would suit his character. The Inspectors name 'Goole' sounds the same as ghoul- someone with a morbid interest in death or a spirit which is said to take fresh life from corpses, and it is certainly arguable that the Inspectors existence is a result of Eva/Daisy's death. It is there fore possible to see him as a representative of Eva/Daisy, returned to the Birlings in spirit form to 'haunt' the consciences of those who have procured her death. Inspector Goole is also a version of a traditional policeman: intrusive, commanding, polite but impatient when necessary. The twist in the situation is that nothing has occurred that would bring any of the family to a court of justice. ...read more.


The Inspectors role is to make the other characters and the audience in 1945 aware of the broader view on responsibility, which Priestley felt was essential if people were ever going to learn from the " fire, blood and anguish" of two world wars and the years between them. The Inspectors behavior is one of the things that aroused suspicions about him being a real police inspector. One of the most obvious differences between the Inspector and a real inspector is his method of working " one person and one line of inquiry at a time". A real inspector would not insist on this - he would interview people alone. The reason why the Inspector works methodically through the characters one at a time is partly because he recognizes that " otherwise, there's a muddle", but partly because the characters are all quick to defend each other, or look for outside help i.e. Colonel Roberts, in order to avoid accepting the truth of what the Inspector suggests they are capable of. Despite the importance in the community of the Birlings and Gerald, the Inspector controls the development of events: who will speak and when; who may or may not leave; who will or will not see the photograph. The Inspector even seems to control what the characters say and confess to, Sheila notices this and tells Gerald " somehow he makes you". ...read more.


Even though Eric is a drunk he is the only character other than Sheila to have been affected by the Inspector. He wants his parents to admit to their mistakes like he did, and we feel that he is sincerely ashamed of his behaviour and is capable of changing for the better. Gerald had good intentions towards Eva/Daisy from the start, but he allowed his feelings for her to get in the way of them. His regret for the way he treated her is genuine, but he does not have the same deep response as Sheila and Eric. The Inspector is described in terms of "massiveness, solidity and purposefulness". To exaggerate this, I would dress the Inspector in a long, dark green coloured trenchcoat, with a tilby on his head. Following the stage directions, the lighting will become " brighter and harder" with the Inspectors arrival. I would like the atmosphere to reflect the thoughts of the Inspector, therefore it would be tense and moody, but not eerie because I want the audience to believe the Inspector is an Inspector up until the point where the characters start to question his identity. I would not play any music as I do not think it would add to the desired affect- just distract attention away from the Inspector. The Inspectors role in the play, his effect on the other characters, and his stage presence all effect how the audience perceives his character. Sorrel Mulhall ...read more.

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