Examine the Function of the Inspector in 'an Inspector Calls'

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Examine the function of the Inspector in ‘An Inspector Calls’

‘An Inspector Calls’ is a fascinating play of guilt and innocence, and of prejudice and hypocrisy. Throughout the play, the Inspector acts as a physical object for Priestley’s personal views. The play is a morality play, in which Mr Birling is a Capitalist and the Inspector is a Socialist. As Priestly is obviously trying to achieve the audience agreeing with his views, he creates Birling to be a pompous and an ‘easy to dis-like’ character. The Inspector works on two different levels; a dramatic level and a symbolic level.

The Inspector is able to persuade the characters very easily, this is peculiar as the family do not even know whether he is a real inspector and yet still give him all the answers he is looking for. The Inspector manipulates the family very effectively by using the technique of ‘cutting in’. “Come along Mr Croft. What happened?”. When the Inspector does this during his interrogating session, he seems to be asking each family member questions that he already knows the answer to, but wants the rest of the family to know how they have been involved, revealing the fact that all of the family contributed to Eva‘s demise, and therefore almost deliberately causing an argument between the family. Sheila is the only member of the family, who truly understands what the Inspector is trying to get into their minds and this process changed her from a happy and innocent character to an exceedingly remorseful character.

J.B. Priestly uses a vast amount of detailed stage directions to control the speech and movement on stage. This exaggerates the Inspector’s power and how he influences the other characters with ease. The way the Inspector behaves in general is quite mysterious, He is a powerful character and seems to be incredibly omniscient, much to the family‘s annoyance. The Inspector is a very potent character according to the stage directions as they read that he ‘creates an...
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