How Does Priestly Present the Character of Mr.Goole in An Inspector Calls?

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How Does Priestley Present the Character of Inspector Goole?

*Inspector Goole id the main character in the play An Inspector Calls which was written by J.B. Priestley in 1945 (after the two world wars) however was set in 1912 (just before the first war) a time when politics and the economy were just starting to re-establish themselves .It can be interpreted in many ways: one of which is as a murder mystery, however I feel there is much more to the plot than “who dun it” there is an awful lot of underlying political messages and promotion of the socialist outlook on economy and morals and negative portrayal of capitalism. This is produced by the juxtaposed opinions and ideologies of the Birlings (a capitalist family who, at first seem to be purely egotistical) and the inspector (a socialist man who comes to demonstrate to the Birlings how selfish they have been, and their negative effect on the world around them). *

 Inspector Goole enters the play about ten pages in. He casts a shadow over the Birlings sunny celebration, and immediately taints the image of perfection that priestly has previously bestowed upon the Birlings. Wearing a “plain darkish suit”, being of a neutral age and having no outstanding features or characteristics, he is at first presented as a blank canvas, onto which Priestly can paint any picture and bestow any qualities. However his effect on the family creates an illusion of “massiveness, solidity and purpose.” This is mainly because, for the first time since we met Mr. Birling, he shows respect and weariness even of another character. “Inspector, sit down.” Mr. Birling is altogether more formal. He is no longer ordering people about, and has lost his didactic and vociferous manner. Instead he is requesting politely that the inspector should make him-self comfortable (and also assumes an equal position to himself, sitting).

         Yet Priestley wants the audience to appreciate that Mr. Birling does not see the inspector as a person of equal standing to himself: “I was an alderman for years – and a lord mayor for two years after that.” Mr. Birling is presented as being rather pretentious, assuring that the inspector knows that, in at least Mr. Birlings own eyes; he is an extremely accomplished “hard-headed businessman. He is almost warning the inspector to think before he starts to accuse as he is not only a man of power but, moreover has friends in high places.

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        The inspector is an embodiment of all Priestley’s socialist views, in which “we are all of one body.” And “we are responsible for each other” not just ourselves. Given that the inspector is an incarnation of all the principles priestly believes are right he is the prevailing power in all situations and always portrayed to be fair and just, (right). “There was nothing wrong with what she was doing. They admitted that.” Priestley leaves no room for the inspector’s opinion to be questioned. His point is backed up with an independent affirmation; this means that in the eyes of the ...

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