Discuss the role of the Inspector in An Inspector Calls
J.B. Priestly’s ‘An Inspector Calls’ uses the murder mystery genre to make his point. The play is set in 1912 but written in 1944, this is very significant. The play is about a Police Inspector who investigates a girl’s suicide when he comes to the Birling household to interrogate each person. Although it is somewhat a murder mystery play, ‘The Inspector Calls’ does have some elements of a morality play. J.B. Priestly shines his socialist view through the Inspector and uses him as a social conscience; this develops the Inspector as a literary ghost.
As a social conscience, the Inspector is constructed drawing on many literary traditions. He can be viewed as J.B. Priestly’s moral mouth piece and as a vehicle toward his socialist viewpoint. The Inspectors name gives the audience many thoughts in which they could pre-judge him. Inspector Goole expresses to the audience that he could be quite an eerie figure in the play; that he may have the power to see through people. J.B. Priestly uses this pun on ‘ghoul’ to make the audience expect something different to what there actually is.
Mr Birling is presented as an ignorant and arrogant human being at the beginning of the play. He is shown to be a very strong business man; he sees his daughter’s marriage as a chance at profit in his business. J.B. Priestly presents him as a very misinformed man when he says “The world is developing so fast war is impossible.” This shows that Mr Birling is very stubborn and narrow-minded. He also mentions the Titanic and describes is as “absolutely unsinkable” showing his entire being as dramatic irony. J.B. Priestly’s socialist perspective is shown in the way the presents Mr Birling, the idiotic capitalist.
Inspector Goole questions Sheila, Gerald Birling’s bride to be, about the suicide of Eva Smith, the girl who committed suicide. The Inspector tells Sheila that Eva Smith was a young, attractive women who used to...