Inspector Goole in Priestley’s play An Inspector Calls’ is arguably the most important character. An agent of change and a voice and a voice of personal and social conscience he delivers the main message of the play in his parting speech challenging the Birlings, and the audience, to “Remember” that there are “millions and millions” of people like Eva Smith, all “linked” in some way. Clearly at this stage his examination of the Birlings behaviour and the investigation of the suicide of Eva Smith proves he is the voice of morality. Goole states “we don’t live alone” and are “responsible for each other”. This message is in direct contrast to the one delivered by Arthur Birling at the start of the play where he claims a man has to “look after himself and his own” I believe it is no coincidence that Inspector Goole joins the play at this point and sets the tone for the conflict the two are going to have throughout the entirety of the play.
The way that Inspector Goole conducts his “investigation” of sorts not only exposes Eva Smiths tragic “chain of Events” which leads to her eventual suicide but also enables the audience to understand each individual characters role in Eva’s death for Sheila getting her fired from her last steady job and Arthur Birling caring to much about “lower costs and higher prices” than his workers welfare. Goole is very clear when informing the Birlings and Gerald Croft of the way he like to “go to Work”! He states he will use “one line of inquiry” at a time. He feels to do otherwise would result in a “muddle”. Certainly his way of investigation highlights his polar opposite opinion to Arthur Birling whereas he believes in a “butterfly effect” where each character has individually contributed to the downward spiral of Eva Smith’s life.
Goole exposes the guilt of each character. The Birlings seem, at the beginning of the play to be a respectable “up market” family even Gerald Croft comments that they appear a “nice well behaved” family,...
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