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What is the Role of the Inspector in J.B Priestley's?'An Inspector Calls'

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What is the Role of the Inspector in J.B Priestley's? 'An Inspector Calls' The character of the inspector in J.B Priestley's An Inspector Calls interrupts the engagement party of Gerald Croft and Sheila Birling whose father, Mr. Birling is a successful businessman and was Lord Mayor two years ago. Mr. Birling is giving a pompous speech about technology and how a man should live. He says 'A man has to make his own way, look after himself and his family too of course.' He adds that you should ignore the 'cranks,' who claim that everybody has a responsibility for everybody else. The Inspector, who calls himself 'Goole,' is about to challenge the opinions of Mr. Birling. He announces that he needs to speak to them because a girl has committed suicide by swallowing a large amount of a strong disinfectant. He wants to gather information from the Birlings about this girl who is called Eva Smith. According to the appearance of the inspector, we see that he looks entirely normal. 'A man in his fifties, dressed in a plain in darkish suit of the period.' ...read more.


Other characters also use dramatic irony without knowing it. Priestly employs dramatic irony to show the knowledge of a character. Mr. Birling, for example, says 'There isn't a chance of war. The world is developing so fast that it'll make war impossible.' This statement makes Mr. Birling look like an idiot because two years later World War I begins. Also Mr.Birling states 'That in a year or two we'll have airplanes that will be able to go anywhere.' Mr.Birling talks about the Titanic and says that it is 'Unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable.' The Titanic set sail later that year and sank on her way to America. Even though World War II broke out, J.B Priestley makes the audience think about the horrors of war and how to prevent it. The author uses the Inspector to create a metaphor that warns the character of the war (World War I). The inspector uses the words 'Blood, fire and anguish,' to suggest a war that will teach people like the Birlings a lesson. Throughout this play, J.B Priestley uses dramatic irony and metaphors to increase the power of his message that he wants to transmit to the audience. ...read more.


This shows that because people did not learn from World War I, eventually World War II broke out. What happened to the Birling family is a mirror of the society as a whole. Throughout the play we don't discover the true identity hidden behind the Inspector. However, some clues are found to help us understand who the Inspector really is. The Inspector's name is 'Goole,' a pun on 'Ghoul,' a spirit or a ghost. The Inspector comes without warning and then left, leaving the family confused. The Inspector never really exists because he came before Eva Smith was in the infirmary and he isn't a real inspector. The Inspector leaves after his last speech, which contains many religious points. He talks about the Birlings having to treat Eva Smith as an equal. The Inspector also mentions 'Blood, tears and anguish' which are words used in the Bible. The statement 'Blood, tears and anguish,' is also a reference to the coming of World War I. The Inspector seems to know about this, which suggests he is coming from the future and he is trying to prevent it. J.B Priestley wrote this play to show how we could have prevented the war if everyone before World War two had thought the same way as the Inspector did. ...read more.

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