Examine The Dramatic Presentation Of Inspector Goole In 'an Inspector Calls'

1201 words - 5 pages

Examine the dramatic presentation of Inspector Goole in 'An Inspector Calls'In 'An Inspector Calls,' the Inspector is introduced, from the moment that he fatally presses the Birlings' doorbell, as an ominous and didactic character. He is Priestley's main vector to teach both the characters and the audience throughout the play, enforcing his control even within his very first line to the point he proclaims 'Good night.'Hitherto the Inspector's entrance, Mr Birling was comfortably in control. However, the Inspector, without even being in the room at the point the audience first hears a hint of him, cuts into Mr Birling's speech about how 'we behave ourselves, [and] don't start a scandal' and '[a man] has to look after himself' with the simple, but ominously placed, ring of a doorbell. Inspector Goole gains control easily from the moment he steps into the room and announces himself, a control which he holds over the uneasy family throughout the rest of the play. This is essential to capturing the characters', and audiences, undivided attention all the while the Inspector is on stage. Priestley introduces the sense of a calm authority throughout the first few scenes of the play, employing the use of the Inspector's signature concise speech, which nevertheless can cause quite a stir. A paragon of this is, as Mr Birling begins an attempt to impress the inspector with the various high-end positions he has previously held, the Inspector impresses his lack of interest with a mere 'quite so,' and controlling the situation with ease. Towards the end of the play, he pulls order from the chaos of the Birlings pointing blame on each other by 'masterfully [and] taking charge' regaining control with one word: 'Stop!' This is the first time in the play that the inspector has had to regain control, and is providently placed so as to bring order from the raw chaos and emotion running through the household and to impress his true message onto the family.This didacticism is applied throughout the play, albeit more subtly than in Inspector Goole's final speech in which he forcefully declares that 'the time will soon come when, if men do not learn their lesson, they will be taught in fire and blood and anguish.' Priestley conveys his lesson regarding social responsibility through addressing every character about their wrong, whether they accept their iniquities or not, through the Inspector. The primary instance in which this medium is practiced is when Goole tells Shiela to 'ask your [her] father,' about maltreated working class labourers, which causes Birling's closed mind to clear slightly, and to stun Shiela into thinking about the scene in more depth, thus regarding the impact of even the smallest actions towards even the most, seemingly, insignificant of people. Mrs Birling is also chastised by the inspector, who insists that 'you [she] turned her away when she most needed help,' although Mrs Birling tenaciously refuses to admit any regret of her actions. The...

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