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The Function and symbolism of the Inspector in

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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.

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