An Inspector Calls-the Inspector AQA GCSE English Literature

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The Name

  • Goole
    • This sounds a little like 'ghoul', which suggests that the Inspector is other-worldlly and ghostly, and no one ever finds out who he really is.
    • Eva's body does not actually arrive in hospital until he has left the Birling house, which makes him almost seem as if he may be a time traveller.
    • All the way through the play the Inspector seems to already know many things, which further reinforces the idea that he is other-wordly, with seemingly other-worldly knowledge.
    • In a film adaptation of this play, the Inspector just mysteriously disappears from a chair-his identity evidently isn't all that important if Priestley chose not to reveal it-it is his role in the play that was more important.
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He influences the next generation

  • "They're more impressionable."
    • This may have negative connotations:
      • Eric and Sheila could be getting described as naive, gullible and ignorant, which reflects their parents' attitudes towards them:
        • Birling to Eric: "You've a lot to learn yet." This is ironic, and foreshadows the meaning of the Inspector's arrival-he is here to teach them.
    • Positve connotations:
      • The younger generations are not blinded by opportunities of 'knighthood'-they can face their mistakes and accept blame. They can also change, unlike the stubborn, older generation.
    • Mrs Birling remains the most stubborn; not once hesitating, and unflinchingly shoves the blame for Eva's death onto Eric.
    • This links back to the beginning; Birling "Silly little war scares."-dramatic irony, thinking he is right, when just two years after the time the play is set, world war one erupts.
    • Birling and his wife represent the cold, harsh society of pre-world war, where self-preservation is their first priority.
    • The Inspector is teaching the audience not to return to the harsh society with sharp divisions between classes, that the Birlings represent.
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