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The Function Of The Inspector In J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls

2941 words - 12 pages

The Function of the Inspector in J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls

J.B Priestly was a British journalist, novelist, playwright and
essayist. He was born in 1894 in Bradford and died in 1984. The play
"An Inspector Calls" is about a family who, each member without
knowing, have participated in a young girl's suicide. Inspector Goole
makes every member of the family realise that they have played a part
in killing the girl.

At the beginning of the play the Birlings and Gerald Croft are having
an engagement celebration dinner in the evening. The Inspector calls
round half way through the dinner to inform them of the suicide and
ask them a few questions.

The audience expects quite an exciting story from the play. The title
doesn't explain much about the story, which puts a lot of mystery in
the play. This is because the audience does not know what the story is
about and therefore can use their imaginations and create expectations
from it. The genre is murder mystery and detective so the audience
expects it to be quite interesting and mysterious as most murder
mystery stories have a twist in the plot and are difficult to
understand until the end where all will be revealed. The stage
directions at the start suggest that there is quite a joyful mood on
the stage but in the next scene it is all about to change:

"The lighting should be pink and intimate until the Inspector
arrives."

The Inspector's character is that of an intelligent and dominant man.
He was a Socialist, but always waited till the right moment to express
his emotions and views. He gets agitated if he comes across anyone
that refuses to listen to what he has to say and thinks that they are
always right.

"She wasn't pretty when I saw her today, but she had been pretty-very
pretty."

His physical appearance conveys that of a very smart and confident
person, which I think it does from the way that he first enters the
room and explains why he is there. The way he enters on to the stage
and the first things he says are very important as they give the
audience their first impressions of him. It should make them think he
dominates the stage and all of the other characters. The play was
directed so that when the Inspector walks onto the stage he brings
truth, which is symbolised with bright lights. The lights seem to open
up the room and interrupt everything that is going on so far to reveal
the real storyline.

"The Inspector enters…before actually speaking"

The other characters, when they first meet him, think that he is very
rude and arrogant. Mr Birling becomes quite angry with the fact that
the Inspector has just walked in and demanded to speak with him and
his family. Being a man of high importance he does not expect that. Mr
Birling tries to stay in control of the situation and tries to scare
...

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