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Inspector Goole is used by Priestly to put forward his own socialist views contrasting the Capitalist views
of the Birling family. His purpose in play was to forewarn the Birling family of the consequences of their
actions and to bring about changes within a flawed society. However it could also be interpreted that the
inspector is used to reflect Ouspenky's theory as he acts as a catalyst for the Birling's to make their life
spiral out of a cycle by influencing them to make a significant change.
Priestly use a homophone in the name of the inspector, 'Goole' which could be interpreted as meaning the
word Ghoul the fact that Priestly does this allows the reader to consider whether the Inspector is actually
intended as some sort of a divine force this reinforces a sense of mystery which the inspector brings to the
play. The inspector is first described as creating 'a sense of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness,' here
Priestly uses rule of three to create a concrete image of the inspector to the audience. The notion of the
inspector being a divine force is developed further here as he is describe as creating a sense of
'massiveness'. He in his 'early fifties' which suggests to the reader that he is a man of experience in life
almost creating an impression to the reader that he is a fountain of knowledge, perhaps even omniscient.
The inspector's appearance is described as very ordinary as he wore ' a dark suit' this suggests that he is
in a sense an ordinary person which implies that all socialists are ordinary people, promoting Priestley's
socialist views. However this could also have been done to contrast the Birling family's extravagant image, '
the men in tails and white ties,' suggesting just how different capitalists and socialists are.
Upon our first introduction to the inspector, he comes across to the reader as respectful which is evident as
he refers to Mr Birling as 'Sir' conforming to the stereotypical behaviour of a police inspector in order to
gain the Birling's trust in order to gain information from them. His tactical behaviour is further added to as
he looks hard at people before he speaks ,' looking hard at him,' this is done to unsettle them so that they
lose their guard and open up to him. He is also very blunt in his speech ,'No, Mr Birling.' He never gives
away any more information than he has to which is done to almost maintain a sense of authority over the
Birling's as he is almost in a sense one step ahead of them. This idea that he is in control of the situation is
developed to by the use of adverbs to describe his speech, 'sternly,' and 'steadily.' Priestley uses these
adverbs as they command authority suggesting the power that he has as he is capable of commanding
people by the gravity of his manner again creating an image of a divine force. The inspector takes control
in the order in which each revelation occurs, 'one line of enquiry at a time,' he decides in which order the
characters are questioned which could be to create a larger sense of authority as he is capable of doing
The inspector shows no emotion when talking of Eva's horrific death, ' she was in great agony,' the lack of
emotion here could suggest that he has perhaps experienced things in life of this sort before. The inspector
then goes on to tell Mr Birling how Eva used to work for him in a bid to help him remember the events
which may have led to the death of her 'I think you remember Eva Smith now, don't you Mr Birling?'
Here the Inspector uses a rhetorical question as he already knows the answer to this which adds to the
Godlike image created of him as he is in a sense allseeing, allknowing. This is developed throughout the
play as Sheila states to him, ' You knew it was me all a long didn't you.' His godlike presence does not go
unnoticed by Sheila as she recognises that the inspector is omniscient as she states,' I don't understand
about you,' which is done by Priestley to show that as Sheila is the one who makes the most significant
change that she is able to see through the inspector due to this suggesting that it is narrowminded
capitalist views which are preventing others from seeing the same thing. This is highlighted as the inspector
states, ' The younger ones are more impressionable,' expressing his purpose as Priestly understands how
the older generation of Capitalists are set in their ways however he intends to make an 'impression' on the
younger ones as he feels it is the younger generation who can bring about the changes needed in society.
Priestley's socialist views are developed further as Mr Birling tries to protect Sheila ,' Run along Shelia.'
however the inspector goes to state, ' wait minute.' Here we can see that Mr Birling feels that women need
to be protected from certain things which highlights his smallminded capitalist views as he does not so
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Sheila an option in the matter whereas the inspector sees no reason why women and men
cannot be equal and share the same information.
In act three we see the repetition of the 'don't forget' which is used as an instruction to the Birling's not to
fall back to their old ways the repetition reinforces this to the family in an attempt to ensure that this has a
lasting effect on them.…read more