What is the Importance of Inspector Goole and how does Priestley present him?

Topics: An Inspector Calls, J. B. Priestley, Time and the Conways Pages: 3 (872 words) Published: February 2, 2014
In many ways, the inspector is the most important character in An inspector calls and Priestley manipulates the personality and actions of this particular character as the perfect citizen who doubles up as a driving force to change the ways of stereotypical upper/middle class people. The language and stagecraft Priestley uses reinforce the importance of the inspector and make us understand that this inspector, Police or not, is one to be taken seriously.

Right from the moment he is introduced, Inspector Goole is commanding of the situation and already has that authority he displays later on in the play, “at once an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness”. As the play progresses the inspector continues to make this impression on the family by his interrogations and speeches. The inspector does this by keeping composed and confident even in the toughest situations while the people around him fail to stop themselves from keeping to their false stories. His ‘solidity’ is proven when the inspector keeps to the task even though he is under constant fire from Mr. Birling and Gerald and his ‘purposefulness’ is proven when he explains turn by turn to the Birling family that their way of thinking ‘Every man must only look out for himself’ and that “we are all responsible for each other” is completely unacceptable and will rapidly become redundant . The inspector’s final speech best represents this where the inspector says “We don’t live alone; we are members of one body. We are responsible for each other”. The idea of social unity is one Priestley believed in and many other lines from the inspector show this theme.

The inspector is almost a mouth piece for Priestley and he shows the difference in social classes at the time, something which Priestley wanted to get rid of, and due to his writing of the play in 1945, he could easily use dramatic Irony to present the Birlings as fools, when they blatantly belittle every fact which Priestley knows to be...
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