Character profiles - 'An Inspector Calls'

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  • Created by: Sophie
  • Created on: 05-04-15 15:43

The Inspector (Inspector Goole)

Who is the Inspector?

·      Even by the end of the play, the audience are dubious of who or what the inspector is.

·      He arrives unexpectedly.

·      His role grows as the play unfolds.

·      Remains solid throughout; he does not back down.

·      Authoritative and imposing - despite him not being described as a big man, his presence fills the room.

·      He is moral, and believes in society we are all responsible for one another.

·      Sombre presence in contrast to the Birling family. He controls the atmosphere and the mood.

·      Relentless and calculating,

·      Omniscient – seems to know everything about the Birling family.

·      Throughout the play, conducts himself in a manner unsuitable for a police inspector. He takes moral stances throughout his interrogation, usually in the name of labour rights.

·      Universalises Eva Smith at the end of the play to the cases of many such disadvantaged lower class citizens throughout the country.

·      Final scene (call from the Infirmary) suggests that Inspector Goole did know something was going to happen and was not merely seeking to make the Birlings cognizant of the moral wrongs.


The Inspector controls the play

·      Seen as the engine – he keeps things moving by asking assertive, taboo questions.

·      Summarises the events that had unfolded.

·      Forces more information out of people by bluntly saying what the others try to ignore.  His questions aren’t really questions; they are more statements forcing the character in question to tell the truth.

·      He tactfully reveals new information at certain points to heighten the drama.


Priestley’s use of language

·      Emotive and personal – the Inspector uses emotive language to make the characters feel on edge. Through this, Priestly can make the audience feel sympathetic, angry or upset.

·      Harsh tone – the Inspector’s unsparingly blunt tone makes the character feel guilty towards the death of Eva/Daisy. His tone is almost distressing.

·      Shock tactics – The Inspector answers his own questions if he’s not happy with someone’s answer. His piling questions put pressure on the characters, and almost force a confession from them. He also helps them put together the pieces of a confession. He’s prepared to ask personal questions. He is blunt and to the point; he forces the characters to answer him.

·      Throughout the play, the Inspector’s language gets more dramatic. This builds on tension and emotion of the final scene.


The Inspector’s entrance and departure

·      The Inspector rings the doorbell just as Birling says “a man has to mind his own business” – it is as if the Inspector is summoned to contradict this belief (which he does so).

·      The title of the play is echoed in Edna’s words as she announces the arrival of Inspector Goole at the start and end


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