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

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Introduction

What is the function of the Inspector in An Inspector Calls? The play was written in 1945 but surprisingly, J.B. Priestley decided to set it in 1912, as capitalism is the strongest before the war and poor people have to rely on charities; due to the class system. Priestley is trying to convey to the audience a message that we are all equal and we have to look after each other in order to survive. He gave us a clue before he departed, he said if we don't learn it now, we will have to learn it in 'fire, blood and anguish'. This is a hint to us for what is going to happen in the future, this is also dramatic irony as we knew the 'fire and blood' is from the soon coming war. Dramatic Irony is also used again when Mr Birling said 'the Titanic - she sails next week - forty six thousand eight hundred tons - forty six thousand eight hundred tons - New York in five days - and every luxury - and unsinkable' The truth is the Titanic has sinked, and as a audience we know this whilst the narrator or the characters don't. Also, by repeating the weight of the ship we can interpret that Mr Birling is extremely proud of his country and this new ship, during that time, this is common as many people are nationalists then. In 1945, much of the capitalism and class discrimination has gone because of the war, and because we know this it's emphasis the proud and great feeling Mr Birling has for his country. The play begins as a simple and thrilling detective play, but it unfolds eventually. Due to the crimes and the responsibility the characters learnt to take, the plays unfolds into a mortality play and teaches us something. This is the struggle of Good and Evil. ...read more.

Middle

You began to learn something from it and now you haven't stopped. You're ready to go on in the same old way." Eric is quite inward as he hides his problems from his family and was 'not quite at ease' when he learns he fathered a child. He was ashamed from being a thief and drunkard. Mr Birling never cared much for him as this is indicated when he says "You damned fool - why didn't you come to me when you found yourself in this mess?" This suggests that Eric doesn't trust Mr Birling or that his father never cared about him therefore he doesn't initially thought that his father might help him. This is backed up by his reply, "Because you're not the kind of chap a man could go to when he's in trouble!" This reply also indicates their fatherly-son relationship wouldn't improve much at the end of the novel. He doesn't have his sister's confidence in the dining hall and also lacking socialising skills as he tried joking in with Birling's and Gerald's conversation by laughing, but when they asked him "What's the joke?" He didn't know and due to his 'Silliness', Birling doesn't approve of him. His mother also lack caring for her son as she can't even realise his addiction to alcohol. He was 'squiffy' when the Inspector arrived but in the end he still admitted his part of responsibility. But because he is 'squiffy', he might be unwillingly giving up this information and admitting it, because we haven't been told he has sobers up even at the end of the novel, we don't know if he will act like his parents and forgets about his and carry on with his old life. When he realised Eva was dead along with his child, he was fuming at his mother for not helping her. This could be an indication that he is pushing all responsibility towards someone else as he is angry at his mother for killing his child, ...read more.

Conclusion

He already knows that Gerald has something to reveal and that it is just a matter of time. The Inspector also has another function, nto only did he tried to make the Birling's admit what they did, he also tried to make them realise and acknowledge their part in this suicide. He managed to convinced Shiela and Eric to change, of which, it has the most impact on Shiela because she was utterly distressed by this tragedy. The Inspector and Priestley merges as one and spread his ideas throughout the play. He also made all the characters feel guilt, Gerald and Mr and Mrs Birling was on the stage of feeling guilty; but yet they did not and refused to change; despite this, they did not feel guilty for long thus they did not learn anything from this. He did managed to make then feel involved in other people's affairs which they have partially caused to happen and the bitterness between them leads them to argue between each other. They all blame someone else and empathised the responsibility inside them. To Shiela, it doesn't matter wherever the Inspector was real or not as it is more important for her to know the truth and learn from her mistakes than pondering the truth about the Inspector. This is backed up when she said "The worst part is. But you're forgetting one thing I still can't forget. Everything we said had happened really had happened. If it didn't end tragically, then that's lucky for us. But it might have done." But to her parents and Gerald, it is a big difference as confessing to a real police would mean a public scandal. In the end they quickly become sled-confident again, that's why the second phone call takes place. Priestley wanted to prove them wrong, the Inspector also gives a moving speech at the end of the play about the disaster in the future and make them realises the importance of co-operation and what the class system have done to this society. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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