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Who is inspector Goole and what is his function in the play? How may his role be shown in a performance of the play? J.B Priestlys' 'An Inspector Calls'.

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Introduction

__________________________________________________________ Who is inspector Goole and what is his function in the play? How may his role be shown in a performance of the play? J.B Priestly wrote the celebrated play 'An Inspector Calls' at the height of his powers as a playwright. Although the play was written at the end of WW2 in 1945 it is set in a spring evening in 1912, 2 years before WW1. Edwardian society at that time (1912) was strictly divided into social classes and over two-thirds of the nations wealth was in the hands of less than 1% of the population. Below the very rich were the middle classes (doctors, merchants, shop workers and clerks), after that came the craftsmen and skilled workers. At the very bottom of the social ladder was the largest class of all- the ordinary workers and the poor, many of whom lived below the poverty level. The men of industry treated the workers very badly and they were paid a pittance. This caused workers to become more organised and strikes were becoming more frequent as they demanded better conditions and higher pay. Priestly was writing this play for a middle class audience and was speaking up for the working class by showing how the Birlings and Gerald Croft were all involved in making a young working class girl's life a misery. ...read more.

Middle

The inspector is a strange character. Unlike the other characters he has no history with Eva. As we know, his characterisation is reminiscent of the medieval morality play: rather then representing a real person, his character represents the abstract idea of human guilt, conscience, which ensures consideration and responsibility for others. All in all, the inspector doesn't seem to be of this world, let alone of the Brumley police department. This is a strong possibility because the inspector, not even once touched anything solid. When asked for a drink (pg 11) he refused. You can tell that the inspector is not a member of the police force because Mr Birling says he knows most of the officers in Brumley and when asked ' do you get on with the chief constable' the inspector replies ' I don't see much of him.' The inspector is omniscience- he knows everything about the family's involvement with the girl, before they reveal their secrets. He claims to have read things in her diary, but this could not account for the extent of his knowledge. When the inspector first enters the play Priestly describes the inspector in terms of 'massiveness, solidity and purposefulness' symbolising the fact that he is an unstoppable force within the play. The inspector's name Goole, also has tremendous significance, it is homonym. ...read more.

Conclusion

The moral message of the play, which the inspector delivers, can also be shown in the set on stage. In his stage directions Priestly says, " Producers... would be well advised to dispense with an ordinary realistic set" If I was to direct that scene I would have the inspector standing at the opposite side of the room as Mr birling, he will be dressed in casual but smart clothes, standing up straight looking hard at Mr Birling. When he speaks he will speak in a slow and polite way but I will have him emphasize some word by making him speak in a deeper voice. Since the Birlings were worried about appearances, the way they dressed and how their house was decorated I would of set the Birling house with good solid furniture of the period." The general effect is substantial and heavily comfortable but not cosy and homelike. All the Birlings and Gerald are in evening dresses of the period, the men in tails and white ties and not dinner jackets. The women wear long formed dresses. The inspector will wear a suit but he will not be concerned with appearance and status. The inspector would sit on the chair facing the opposite direction of the door, and look hard at Mr Birling. When he stands he will stand facing the doorway about 2 inches away from whom he is speaking to. When he is speaking to Erik or Sheila he will stand near them and then speak. Mohammed 10i ...read more.

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