An once an impression of massiveness, solidity

An Inspector Calls is a play that
is associated with the Soviet Union that underlines lots of political, economic
and social messages. J.B. Priestley believed in socialism, prompting social
issues, he did this by persuading individuals to his state of mind in most of
his plays. The Inspectors name is Goole which sounds like ‘ghoul’ meaning
someone who has a morbid interest in death or a spirit. His appearance in the
play is a result of the girl’s death. Goole is also a seaport town and perhaps
suggests that he is going to fish for information. Both explanations could be a
reason Priestly chose the name Inspector Goole, to give the reader a hint on
the character itself.

 

At the start of the inspector’s
speech he is shown as dominating and commanding by his tone and words used, “…at
once an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness.” J.B Priestley uses
many dramatic techniques to create a sense of tension. One way is by how the
inspector continues his speeches, picking out every detail and interrogating
the family. Throughout the interrogation the inspector remains confident and
standing tall while the Birling family starts to fall to the ground while the
truth starts to appear and feels guilty. The suspense and interest come from
the Inspectors pauses in his speeches, timings of his exits and entrances.
Despite many interruptions by the Birling family, the inspector manages to
remain on his objective this is shown by his ‘solidity’. The speech starts of
at slow pace and rhythm then starts to intensify “We don’t live alone…We are
responsible for each other.” This view is shown by Priestley’s way of thinking
that he believed in it very deeply that the was one of the main themes of many
of his writings. In the inspector’s final speech, without knowing it he guides
the play along by guiding the characters to the right direction to let him
achieve his objectives. He told to be ‘purposeful’ to show the Birlings way of
thinking “Every man must only look out for himself.” His speech is structured
and the use of language is audible to make it distinct for the Birling family
to listen and understand carefully.   

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The play was set in 1912, so it
reflects the views and feelings expressed by Priestley as it explores many
issues at the time. Priestley had very socialist views on the world, and many
other issues he wanted to diminish such as class, age and gender. So, the
specific character in the play, namely Arthur Birling was the complete opposite
to all of Priestley’s views. For example, the Inspector pinpoints the ways and
actions of the Birlings actions have interpreted an innocent girl of a
completely different class and background. “As if a girl of that sort would
ever refuse money!” said by Mrs Birling about the girl, Eva Smith. This
represents the attitudes and harm caused by someone higher up the hierarchy as
an excuse of not helping her. Furthermore, the Inspector shows the real side of
having riches and power at that time, that they can be harmful and destructive
without even realising it. By now we start to realise the amount of control and
leverage the Inspector has over the Birling family in their own environment
while the Birlings are presented in an unsympathetic way. A key role of the
inspector is delivered by Priestley to show a way of demeaning Capitalists.

 

After the Inspector examines the
Birlings and shows them who they really are, by his use of awkward questions
and strong statements to watch them struggle. The inspector keeps the flow of
the conversations and overall story moving by manipulating the characters into
what he wants them to say, by revealing different sources one at a time to keep
them all on their toes. None of the secrets and actions wouldn’t be exposed if it
wasn’t for the Inspector shaping the questions to get the perfect and planned
responses. Which then eventually connected the responses all together which
accumulated to the reason why Eva Smith committed suicide. However, the
Inspector played it all very intelligently by never explicitly accusing anyone
of any involvement, instead by the way the Inspector engages and interacts with
the characters they end up filling in the missing gaps themselves. When the
Inspector is questioning Eric Birling about who killed Eva Smith. He begins by
hinting at the fact that Eric killed Eva because of the fact that she was
carrying his baby, so Eric assumes that it was his fault. But shortly after it
is hinted that it is in fact Mrs. Birling who influenced the death of Eva
Smith. This particular situation is related to the Dunne’s Theory, Mrs. Birling
looked back in the past and closely at her actions to realise that it could and
did affect someone’s future and is held responsible for indoctrinating the life
of a young girl.

 

The inspector manages to not only shape
and outline the characters wrongs which they have done but he also connects it all
together by their responses because of his solidity. Fitting the parts together
of the story, leads the Inspector to being more solid by making the truth
inescapable and inevitable. The series of events accumulates to the end of Eva
Smith’s life where she commits suicide as she feels there is no hope left for
her by swallowing a strong disinfectant.

 

Perhaps the Inspector is considered
not human at all, on a figurative level he could be some kind of ghost. Suggested
by his name Inspector Goole, with the distinct and similar sounding word ‘ghoul’
meaning ghost similar to the Inspector’s name. Others suggest other points of
view the fact that the Inspector could be some sort of angel or messenger to
correct the Birling’s way of life. The Inspector could also be the appearance
of the ghost Eva Smith; however, we then find out that no one actually dies
till the end. But this may be forewarning the family of the dangers to come.

 

The final speech by the Inspector, the
purpose of it is to summarize his views and throughout Priestley involves the
reader or audience. By the use of the character’s discussions are in fact to
each other but are there to involve the audience and draw them in. By building
up the tension, Priestley ultimately wanted this speech to make the audience
listen carefully. This is evident because of the way the speech is structured
and the language used. For example, his final speech is conducted in powerful
way as the points are delivered in a sharp and quick tone, so the audience takes
in it and understands. “Be taught in blood, fire and anguish,” this refers to
the subject of war and we start to learn how eventually we all responsible for
each other.

 

In conclusion, the role and
function of the Inspector in an Inspector Calls, is a device so Priestley can portray
his socialist views. The Inspector instigates the majority of the discussion because
of his solidity and convincing tone. He is essential to the play because of his
expertise and the way he speaks with complete and utter belief and conviction. Overall,
I think that the inspector plays the role of God, as
he knows all and wants the other characters to confess their sins to him,
without him asking them. As eventually your secrets will be revealed one way or
another.