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What is the function of the inspector in JB Priestly's 'An Inspector Calls.'

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Azhan Rehman 10G2 English Coursework Miss Papandreou. What is the function of the inspector in JB Priestly's 'An Inspector Calls.' 'An Inspector Calls' by JB Priestly is a morality play that deals with responsibility, society, class and family. In this essay I am going to explore the way the playwright creates a function for the inspector, and how it is displayed through, several different techniques. We are told nothing whatsoever about the inspector except form his name. Inspector Goole's name is weird and sort of resembles a ghost or a spirit. He might have been a spirit, sent on behalf of the dead women, to torment and make the other characters of the play feel guilty. JB Priestly obviously didn't want any of the characters to really know who he was. The inspector was very mysterious and a suspicious character. Some of the inspector's functions include how he moves the story forward. The inspector moves and does things at his own will. When he interrupts, no one does anything, he moves onto each suspect when he likes. Also leaves when he likes. In Act one, the Birling's family were having a celebration and were all enjoying themselves. However, when the inspector had arrived from nowhere, the atmosphere had dramatically changed. The atmosphere is now much tense for both the characters and the audience. When the inspector had arrived, he 'created at once an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness.' ...read more.


The inspector creates many dramatic tensions with the characters throughout the three acts. The way the inspector does this is especially his language the way he speaks. The inspector lost patience with Mr Birling and bluntly tells him to shut up. Inspector: ' Don't stammer and yammer at me again, man. I'm losing all patience with you people.' The inspector's tone of voice creates dramatic tension between the characters and they are all tense. Another way the inspector creates dramatic tension through his language is harsh words. Inspector: '(harshly) Yes, she's dead.' The inspector uses harsh words and gets straight to the point. This effects the characters, when the inspector shouts or loses his patience the characters don't argue they back down and stay away. The inspector creates tension when he interrupts. Mrs Birling: 'If you mean that the inspector will take offence' - Inspector: (cutting in calmly) 'No, no. I never take offence.' These three types of languages effect the characters, when the inspector shouts or loses his patience the characters don't argue they back down and stay away. This demonstrates to the audience that the Birlings deserve to get this treatment by the inspector, for killing Eva Smith from chains of events. The function of the inspector is that he is trying to make himself heard and is in control. The inspector also uses body language to create dramatic tension in the play. ...read more.


At this point, Gerald became agitated and gets himself another drink. As the inspector leaves the room to find Mr Birling, Gerald admits to Sheila that he knew Daisy Renton. He wanted to keep it from the inspector but Sheila says its 'impossible,' because he knows. After a while Sheila find s out everything about, where he was all previous summer, and this nearly breaks up his marriage. However Gerald reacted in a similar way as Mr and Mrs Birling he says, 'because I say there's no more real evidence we did that there was that chap a police inspector.' This effects the characters and shows that Mr and Mrs Birling and Gerald are not good people, they take everything for granted. This also effects the audience, it displays to them that the older generation are not as wiser that they should be. Mr and Mrs Birling and Gerald have a 'celebration' when the inspector had left. There could be some help for the future if the younger generation change. JB Priestly thinks that young generation people are much clever and there is hope for the future. Priestly uses him as a device to emphasis on what he thinks. In conclusion, 'An Inspector Calls' by JB Priestly, has created many functions for the inspector. The function that has been most effective throughout the play is creating dramatic tension, by using a number of techniques, like interrupting. We get the feeling that the inspector's visit was mostly vain. There is a possibility that Eric, and especially Sheila might have learnt something, hopefully people can learn something from this and change their ways. ...read more.

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