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

The Function and symbolism of the Inspector in

Extracts from this document...


The Function and symbolism of the Inspector in "An Inspector Calls" In "An Inspector Calls" by J.B. Priestley the Inspector is used as a voice of conscience and morality. The Inspector does this while interrogating a very prosperous and upper-middle class family who believe themselves to be above all. The dramatic impact that Priestley uses shows the importance, validity and presence of the inspector. Priestley uses effects such as changing the lighting "The lighting should be pink and intimate until the inspector arrives, and then it should be brighter and harder" in the stage directions. This is to show the change of tone when the inspector arrives, from joyous and loving to earnest and grave. This lighting change also symbolises truth and 'the harsh light of reality'. His body language is very confronting and serious. "Has a disconcerting habit of looking at the person he addresses before actually speaking" This shows the Birlings that he is not playing games and is making sure they know why he is there. The inspector is omniscient; he knows everything, although he is still questioning them. He keeps control of the situation so he can keep track of what's going on and what's being said: "One line of enquiry at a time". ...read more.


"And don't let's start dodging and pretending now. Between us we drove that girl to commit suicide." Her reaction to the revelation that Goole was not a 'real' Inspector is totally different to Gerald's and her parents': "whoever that Inspector was, it was anything but a joke. You knew it then. You began to learn something. And now you've stopped. You're ready to go on in the same old way." Gerald Croft is, like the Birlings, a member of the upper class. He is described as "very much the easy well-bred young man-about-town." He is slightly older than Eric, and seems far more assured, confident and capable of dealing with awkward situations, though at the end he does not show the strength of character which Eric displays by accepting his part in Eva's death. Mrs Birling typifies the older generation in that she prefers to remain ignorant of anything which may be 'upsetting' or which might not fit into her artificially well-ordered world; for example, she is "staggered" and "shocked", both by the revelation that Eric drinks heavily. This ignorance makes her seem na�ve, more 'innocent' than her children, but in fact it is all based on her desire to avoid hearing anything which is 'offensive' to her superior sensibility. ...read more.


J.B. Priestley was a left wing author. At the time that the play was being written, Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister of Great Britain. Winston Churchill was a right wing leader, the opposite of what Priestley was, and Priestley has different views to Churchill. However, at the time the play was released in England, in 1946, Clement Atlee was the Prime Minister. Clement Atlee was a labour Prime Minister who was in favour of a welfare state, which are the views articulated by Priestley in An Inspector Calls. An Inspector Calls is not just about Britain in 1912, it is about contemporary Britain in 1946, and it is still relevant today. J.B. Priestley could be using The Inspector as a device to express his own political views and immortalise his moral standings. Priestley uses The Inspector as a messenger. In conclusion, the Inspector's role is straightforward. The Inspector has interrupted the lives of the Birling's to teach them about life, morality and the importance of community. The Inspector symbolises a priest-like figure, a narrator and a moral conscience. The Inspector takes control of the Birling's house hold, which is a very shocking thing to do at the time the play was set. The Inspector preaches a lot of J.B. Priestley's political views of community, unity and socialism Thomas Porter GCSE English Coursework ...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. Discussthe role of the Inspector in the play 'An Inspector Calls'

    The inspector could have been a ghost yet he did not haunt them or continue to do so until they were sorry for the events they had caused, he has simply made them aware of there actions. His knowledge about them all suggests that he is their collective conscience.

  2. Examine the function and symbolism of the Inspector

    It shows that money and business is a key element in Birling's life. Birling also refers to the 'community and all that nonsense', which suggests that he is selfish and believes in the term 'every man for himself'. Mr Birling also makes comments about the socialist writers George Bernard Shaws and H.G Wells.

  1. Who is inspector Goole and what is his function in the play? How may ...

    He interviews each character/characters when he thinks the time is most appropriate, for example when Sheila and Gerald are interviewed together by the Inspector (Sheila said to Gerald) "...You and I aren't the same people who sat down down to dinner here."

  2. What is the Dramatic Function of the Inspector in 'An Inspector Calls'?

    When Sheila finishes the inspector says, "well" to ask Gerald to come out with the information he knows. Act 2 begins like Act 1 ended with the Inspector saying, "well?" to Gerald which is repetition which makes Gerald feel ganged up on and cornered as both Sheila and the Inspector

  1. The Inspector takes the shallow morality of the Birlings and shows there is no ...

    Birling's blind faith in the future shows his complacency in his family. This is an early glimpse of how wrong he can be. The stage direction is very significant. 'We hear the sharp ring of a front door bell.' This is a very effective piece of theatre and is a dramatic moment in the play.

  2. An Inspector Calls by J.B Priestley is a play about an inspector who tries ...

    The inspector's character is very complex since he is a Police Inspector yet he does more than a police officer should. 'I've had that notion myself from time to time. In fact, I've thought that it would do us all a bit of good if sometimes we tried to put

  1. What is the function of the Inspector in An Inspector Calls?

    His attitude to life is to 'look after his own' and this is essential to the play and a theory which is discredited by the Inspector. He claims he is a 'self-made man' and business is always priority to him - 'it is my duty to keep labour cost down' thus making more money.

  2. What is The Function of the Inspector in the Play?

    This shows that he's very eager to find out information about Eva Smith the girl in which who committed a suicidal death which was why the Inspector was trying to make the character feel guilty in each way he possible can.

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