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Who is Inspector Goole and what is his function in the play?

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English essay 'An Inspector calls' Who is Inspector Goole and what is his function in the play 'An Inspector calls' was written in 1945 at the end of the second world war, but set in 1912 two years before world war one. It looks back on the social attitudes that led up to the first world war and the action of the play was set just before 'the fire and blood and anguish' of the first and second world wars. In the play, J.B Preistley has juxtaposed conservative, capitalist ideas against socialist, communists' ideologies. J.B Preistley demonstrates that the socialist and communist ideas are the only reasonable ideas of being with a conscience. In the play, we come across many different issues. It shows how people have to face up to having caused something and the effect it has on others and society as a whole. J.B Preistley also uses irony in the play. The audience sees this when Mr Birling refers to the Titanic being "unsinkable," which is ironic, as the audience already knows that the Titanic sunk. The Inspector is eponymous, "The eponymous hero," showing that he is the main character. As the play continues, we can also see that the inspector is omniscient. He controls the events, and unfolds them to the Birling family throughout the course of the play, turning characters against each other and intimidating them to the point of confession. ...read more.


At the end of the play the rest of the family recognise his unusual qualities, and try to convince themselves that it was all simply a hoax, "There's no Inspector Goole in the police. That man definitely wasn't a police inspector...we've been had" They also find out that no girl committed suicide in the infirmary that evening when they ring the infirmary, ' No girl has died their today. Nobody's been brought in after drinking disinfectant. They haven't had a suicide for months.' However, the twist at the end of the play shows that there had been a girl brought in to the infirmary after drinking disinfectant. This gives the inspector a supernatural air as he has foreknowledge of Eva Smiths death. In some ways the Inspector resembles a detective of crime fiction like Sherlock Holmes for example. He is unusually intelligent, and to possess knowledge which keeps him one step ahead of the other characters. However, he is not a member of the police force, it implies this when Mr Birling says '...I know the Bromley police officers pretty well and I thought I'd never seen you before.' Another reason that made him seam unusual is the fact that he just came from nowhere without warning. The pun on his name inspector Goole could mean ghoul as in ghost also gives him a supernatural air. He has godlike attributes, Sheila describes him as strangely powerful. ...read more.


And now she'll make you pay a heavier price still.' The inspector is extremely hard on the all of the family apart from Sheila. He says very little to her, this shows that he excepted that she knows what she has done to Eva Smith and that she is truly sorry for it. Right at the end of the play the inspector says, ' But just remember this. One Eva Smith has gone-but there are still millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John smiths still left with us, with their lives, their hopes and fears, their suffering and change of happiness, all intertwined with our lives, and what we think and say and do. We don't live alone. We are members of a body. We are responsible for each other...' When the Inspector comments on this, we learn that he is a socialite. He is implying that even if the Birlings don't admit to what they have done and don't lean from it, the rest of the world will learn to hate them because we are all together and everyone knows everything about everyone. The way that the inspector uses various comments and his final speech suggests that Eva Smith is a symbolic figure, respecting all the poor people in society. His socialist views are not only put forward to Mr Birling, but to the rest of the family and to the audience as well. Priestly is showing the audience that the inspectors socialist attitude led up to 'the fire, and blood and anguish of the two World Wars. ...read more.

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