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The Inspector is ‘an embodiment of a collective conscience’. How real is the character of the Inspector in “An Inspector Calls”?

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Introduction

The Inspector is 'an embodiment of a collective conscience'. How real is the character of the Inspector in "An Inspector Calls"? Faris Habayeb 11BC 'A collective conscience' is a conscience of a society or a group of people. The Inspector embodies this quality, which is a powerful one, but tampers with his reality as an inspector. Inspector Goole isn't a typical inspector; his approach towards the Birlings wasn't one, which respected class. He didn't seem to care who he was talking to, he treated everyone the same. Even when Mr. Birling mentions having connections in the police department. (Page 16) "Perhaps I ought to warn you the chief's a friend of mine..." Inspector Goole simply doesn't care, he managed to interrogate the whole Birling family and get the honest truth out of them as if they were talking to themselves, or as if the Inspector was their conscience. Inspector Goole treated each member of the Birlings as if they were normal people, which they weren't. They were of a higher class and they expected to be treated that way. When Inspector Goole comes along all that seems to change, it was as if their conscience became present with the Inspector's presence, which obviously effected the whole Birling house. ...read more.

Middle

Birling's conscience controls a little of his dominant behavior, in the presence of the Inspector. This is mainly because Inspector Goole takes over the situation; this is something Mr. Birling would usually do. Because of the Inspector's control of the situation, I sometimes find Mr. Birling's imperious attitude present, but to a very minimal extent. I feel that Mr. and Mrs. Birling are the only ones who are in constant battle with their conscience and are trying to fight the Inspector by trying to keep their consciences away from the situation as far as possible. Sheila Birling however, is the perfect example of one's conscience completely taking control over them. This is possibly because Sheila Birling is naturally an honest, mature, sensitive and understanding person. When questioned she doesn't show any sign of "Birling behavior" she doesn't act all dominant and cold hearted when questioned and when proof is found against her, she doesn't say anything biased in her own defense. When told of Eva Smith's death, Sheila Birling replied: "Oh how horrible, was it an accident?" (Page 17). This shows Sheila Birling's sensitivity and humanity. When interrogated about Eva Smith's death and when admitting to her faults, Sheila Birling shows regret and guilt. ...read more.

Conclusion

"But just remember this. One Eva Smith has gone- but there are millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with us... We don't live alone; we are members of one body, we are responsible for each other... If men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood anguish. Good night." The Inspector leaves far too informally to be a convincing inspector all together. Instead of taking legal action against the Birlings he gets far too emotional and worked up on things. A real police inspector wouldn't get so involved in such an issue, at a point I felt that the Inspector becomes far too sensitive to be a real person. When he gets to the end of his final speech I feel he knows what is to come and as if he does that a lot to people. The Inspector may be someone who represents truth or he maybe someone who represents justice. Or even a form of angel or something along those lines. There will always be a sense of mystery in this play, how real is the Inspector? I'd say he isn't real at all. Most importantly the Inspector embodies the quality of being an 'embodiment of a collective conscience' (as mentioned before) such a quality isn't a usual one and is certainly not usual to find such a quality in an inspector. ...read more.

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