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What is the purpose of the inspector in the play

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Introduction

What is the purpose of the inspector in the play "An Inspector Calls"? How does the inspector ensure in the versions you have watched, that he is successful in achieving his purpose? An Inspector Calls by J.B Priestly was first performed in 1945. The play was set in 1912 before the war; it centres around the wealthy Birling family. A visit from the mysterious Inspector Goole proves to be a horrifying experience for the Birling's as they learn that they have all played a part in the suicide of a young girl called Eva Smith. The 'moral' of the play is was to encourage people to take responsibility for their actions, not to shift the blame on to others. Priestly attempts to convey his attitudes and ideas through the characters in the play. The Inspector represents the voice of Priestley. He believes in community and if we don't work together then disaster is inevitable. Priestley's main aim in the play was to show what would happen if we didn't work together as a community. ...read more.

Middle

He makes them aware of the wrongs they have done to Eva Smith, and to make them suffer for it by the feelings of immense guilt they should receive from knowing that they are responsible for her death. The inspector first arrives in the house as Mr Birling is giving a speech about how he that it is every man for himself, to look after number one, and not to care for poor people to forget about community. This is important because it is the exact opposite of the message the inspector tries to convey, that everyone should look after everybody else and that we are all responsible for each other. `we are all members of one body, we are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will soon come when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught in fire, blood and anguish' The inspector ensures that he is successful in his task by making sure that he is always in complete control of the situation. ...read more.

Conclusion

The inspector is definitely successful in achieving his purpose in the play, despite the twist of events at the end where the Birlings are unsure as to whether he is a real inspector or not, he still manages to have an impact on Sheila and Eric. And once again, the inspector once again plays his trick of making them feel secure, and then destroying that security; when the Birlings are convinced that they are safe and that it was all an elaborate hoax, and then the phone rings, announcing that a girl has died on the way to the infirmary after swallowing some disinfectant. Not only does the character of the inspector leave the family wallowing in the guilt of their own actions, but he also manages to make the audience think twice about their own lives, and perhaps realise that everything they do has an affect on someone else. Whether this effect is for better or for worse, is very much up to us. ...read more.

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