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Who or what is the inspector and what ishis role in the play?

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Who or what is the inspector and what is his role in the play? Inspector Goole has the most enigmatic, yet important role in the play, 'An Inspector Calls'. Throughout the whole play more and more is revealed about each of the characters, however nothing at all about this so-called inspector. He remains completely unknown; all the same, he always seems to be in complete control of the situations and conversations with his powerful and purposeful exterior. It is possible that Priestley wrote this play to express his own socialist opinions on society and the way people are linked. He believed everybody's actions affect everyone else, somehow. This is shown in the play; for the inspector demonstrates that all family members seemed to have contributed to Eva Smith's suicide. His role in the play is not simply to confront each character with the truth, but to force each character to admit the truth they already know. He works methodically through the characters present one at a time, partly because he recognises that "otherwise there's a muddle", and partly because, the characters are all quick to defend each other. He arrives just after Birling has been setting out his views of life: that every man must only look out for himself. ...read more.


This shows that he's not at all intimidated by Mr Birling. It could also show that he may want the story to easily spill out of Eric, and this would be done using alcohol. Another extremely important point is that the inspector is treating this investigation very seriously, as he should. But, the audience must remember that there is no official crime involved directly linked with Eva Smith. There is theft inside the family, but nothing related to Eva Smith. Strangely, Goole treats this suicide vitally, as if it was a murder, which is very strange even for today's standards. It is very unusual that suicides are investigated this deeply, yet you hear about murders on trial all the time. A strangely ironic point is that this supposed inspector is called 'Goole'. When said allowed, 'Goole' sounds very close to ghoul. A ghoul is a spirit who takes fresh life from corpses, which is ironic since his existence in this play is a result from the girl's death. His name gives him a mysterious, disturbing quality. As well as the name being ghostly, he seems to know and understand an extraordinary amount. For example, he knows the history of Eva Smith and the Birling's involvement in it, she died only hours ago. ...read more.


A clever impostor is, like the rest, a likely theory. This presumption would be proved by the fact that he would only ever show the photograph to one person at any one time, thus keeping the appearance of this girl unknown to those who don't see the photo. He backed this up by saying that she had changed her name a number of times and for each photograph. Throughout the play Inspector Goole demonstrates how people are responsible for how they affect the lives of others; his views are summed up in his visionary and dramatic final speech: that "we are members of one body. We are responsible for each other". This has absolutely nothing to do with the police enquiry, so it must be Priestley's views summed up. Responsibility is one of the play's two key themes, and the Inspector is Priestley's means of expression for putting across his own views of this as a socialist. In this final speech, he is speaking as much to the audience as to the characters on stage. His words here are a warning to an audience in 1945 not to repeat the selfish mistakes that led to the "fire and blood and anguish" of two World Wars and the years between them. ...read more.

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