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

2581 words - 10 pages

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

'An Inspector Calls' written by J.B Priestley, is set in 1912 and was
written in 1945. In the play the Inspector appears to be very plain,
dull and straightforward wearing a dark suit, and is rather sinister
and suspicious. He, on his appearance, has a huge sense of
"massiveness" to him, and has the authority to control and pull out
information from his suspects through his persuasive techniques. The
Inspector has a sense of fear and trouble about him, which helps
create a tense atmosphere.

The Inspector represents central concerns and themes throughout the
play through his image of law and justice in the play. This sense of
feeling about him in the play to the audience shows that he is looked
up to, and maybe is considered as being rather powerful. He also acts
in a way of making the characters think about their conscience. This
also adds tension to the characters and the audience, as this is also
a sign of authority and control. It may also show that he is
omniscient, and is a god or spirit like figure, which may explain why
his name is 'Inspector Goole', as the writer has used play on words,
as the word 'Ghoul' defines as a spirit. The Inspector also uses his
role to make the characters feel collective responsibility, as the
makes all the characters feel guilty for Eva Smith's death through
gathering information and by telling the story his own way, which is
his role in the play. He gains control when he leaves the play as, at
first one of the characters; 'Mr Birling' expresses his opinions on
society by saying "the way some of these cranks talk and write now,
you'd think everybody has to look after everybody else, as if we were
all mixed up together like bees in a hive-community and all that
nonsense". This tells us that before meeting the Inspector, the
characters are narrow-minded, and are all individualists, who also
think that "a man has to mind his own business and look after his
own". This speech given by Mr Birling, shows that the characters as a
whole are very arrogant, and think highly of themselves. This speech
was also interrupted upon the arrival of the Inspector, which also
shows his power and control, as he was able to end this inequitable
speech on individualism. Because of the interruption, this shows that
the Inspector was able to undermine Birling's views, or philosophy on
life, which again shows the power and control that the Inspector has.
He also is has the role of sending out moral views of social life, and
is a type of warning teaching them not to be egotistic, and to think
of how the rest of the society lives.

The Inspector operates as a dramatic device through the dramatic
structure of the play, by moving the story forwards at his own pace,
choosing when to get...

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