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Looking at the role of the Inspector in 'An Inspector Calls'

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LOOKING AT THE ROLE OF THE INSPECTOR IN 'AN INSPECTOR CALLS' J.B. Priestley wrote 'Inspector Calls' in 1945. The central character is an Inspector Goole. In this play his role is ambiguous. He could be seen as a device or maybe even the voice of a conscience in a human form to get us all to examine our consciences. I don't think that it was meant to be realistic but it was an eye-opener. I think that the Inspector's name; Goole is a connotation of the word 'Ghoul' meaning ghost. The Inspector need not be a big man but he creates at once an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness. In this play some of the Inspector's parting words were 'we do not live alone. We are all members of one body'. Priestley himself was particularly interested in the ideas and thoughts of a famous psychologist named Jung. He believed that in our dreams we lose our identity and enter the world of the 'collective subconscious' where we would all share ancient, universal experiences and the things we dream of have a common significance. This play was written in 1945 and was first published in 1947. This play was set in 1912 because this was a year where people thought that nothing bad would ever happen. ...read more.


Before Sheila had heard about the news of Eva's suicide she was ecstatic about her engagement to Gerald. After she gets to know Eva's suicide she gets rather distressed and wished that she hadn't been told so her evening wouldn't have been spoiled. She is feeling utter remorse. For the Inspector to find out what Sheila had done he described a situation which Sheila was involved in. Sheila remembers and then asked what she looked like. When she saw the photograph she recognizes it with a little cry, gives a half-stifled sob, and then runs out. He questioned her calmly and gently and he can see she is willing to learn from her actions and be a force for change in the future. To get the Inspector to hear what he wants from Mrs Birling he first asked rhetorical questions such as "But suppose we do, what then?" When he heard what he wanted to he hear he followed it on from there, "So he's the chief culprit anyhow". He also made abrupt challenges against her. Inspector Goole mad everyone come out with what they did to the girl even if they didn't really care too much at the time, he then made them feel guilt. Also when Inspector Goole was asking Mrs Birling questions the techniques he used were that he makes her start blaming the father of Eva Smith's child, not knowing it's her own son who is responsible and starts make out that he, Eric is the chief culprit. ...read more.


When Gerald told the older generation that there isn't an Inspector Goole in the force, things were back to normal again for them and they were thinking it was a very good joke. However the younger generation on the other hand still felt guilty, even if the Inspector wasn't real. What they had done was imprinted in their minds and I don't think that they will ever forget. Birling - " Well, if he wasn't, it matters a devil of a lot. Makes all the difference" Sheila - "No it doesn't". The way Priestley wrote this play makes it seem as if it is going to begin all over again. When the phone rings at the end the Birling family find out that a girl has just died drinking a bottle of disinfectant. This creates a dramatic effect and I think that Priestley wants us wandering how each character will act the second time round. I think that Priestley is suggesting that learning happens through time and experience. I think the main message of this play is that everyone should take care of each other. People are responsible for each other. I think that this play does have relevance in our society. We are all responsible for each other for example the most important people choose how they wish to run our country, and look after our welfare. Sometimes ordinary citizens speak out for the people and tell the government what they really want. English literature coursework Hussain Khan 10BA 1 ...read more.

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