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Who is Inspector Goole in the J.B. Priestley play,

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Who Is Inspector Goole? In the following essay I will explain in detail the character of Inspector Goole in the J.B. Priestley play, "An Inspector Calls". I will use quotes from the play to support the different theories concerning how the Inspector is supposed to be portrayed. Is he a Policeman, a Socialist revolutionary, an Angel of God, Satan himself, or something else? Within this play the characters occasionally say a line that is known as a subconscious ejaculation. Subconscious ejaculation is when a character lets sys something which has been formed in their mind without them knowing, and when this happens we can usually learn a great deal from that particular line. People who believe that the Inspector is an Angel of the Lord use examples of subconscious ejaculation to support their ideas. For instance, when Mr Birling says, "My God! Look here-" it could be used as evidence to support the theory of the Inspector being an angel. Mr Birling could have subconsciously latched on to the Inspector's ghostly presence, and addressed the Inspector as the Lord without knowing it. Another line that could support the Angel of The Lord theory, is when Sheila says, "He knows, of course he knows." ...read more.


This is the point; perhaps this Inspector was not supposed to be one particular disposition, maybe he was just created in a way to bring across all these things in one. The thought of the Inspector being a socialist revolutionary is a good idea for many reasons. Not only is there an astounding amount of evidence to support this fact, but it is also worth consideration because the play's writer, J.B. Priestley, was a socialist himself. Priestley grew up amongst his father's socialist friends, and the ideas he learnt as a child influenced him very strongly in his later life. These views came across in the arguments he had with the richer people during his Political Science degree, and framed the values that were later to predominate Priestley's writing. In this play Priestley observes the world around him, and is trying to put across the socialist point of how terribly the working class were being treated by the rich at the time. This is why the Inspector, who is in most respects the main character in this play, must in theory carry an overall socialist message. ...read more.


One final idea is from the writer himself. When J.B. Priestley was quizzed upon how his character was to be portrayed as, he said that he wrote in the character with a ghost in mind. You can see the idea of this coming through in a number of instances throughout the book. For instance, the Inspector's name "Goole" is a play on the word 'Ghoul'; another world for phantom or ghost. If you really wanted to look into the lines, even the word 'Inspector' contains 'spectre'. Personally, I don't think that Priestley set out to make the Inspector any specific position, and the idea of the character being either an Angel of the Lord or Socialist revolutionary is not necessary. It is perfectly reasonable to accept the Inspector as an epitome of a socialist's views rolled into a single character. Maybe there are instances where the Inspector seems similar to a dominant paranormal presence such as an Angel or the Devil himself, but perhaps that is just because of the strength of his words, and feeling of the writer as he was writing. The important thing is not to classify exactly who this Inspector is, but to acknowledge that Priestley was influenced to promote a supernatural being in the character, to increase the potency of his message. ...read more.

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