How does JB Priestley present Inspector Goole in the play An Inspector Calls?
The Inspector arrives at the Birling's household and is introduced as a police inspector. However, the Inspector does not specifically introduce himself to the audience or the family himself, this is done through Edna. As the Inspector enters the room, the stage directions order the lights to be intensified. This is symbollic of the Inspector's visit, as he wishes to 'shine a light' and undercover the Birling family's secrets and lies.
At the start of the play, the Inspector has an unspoken fight for power with Mr Birling, as he imposes his authority on Mr Birling. This has a negative impact on Mr Birling and he is persistent in attempting to regain the power through his position as a 'businessman', and speaks of how he was 'Lord mayor'. Despite this, the Inspector does not succumb to his attempts and dismisses them readily. The Inspector's visit comes as a result of the family's treatment towards people of the lower class, a girl called Eva in particular, whose life was affected by every member of the family to a certain extent. However, the Inspector was unable to persuade Mr Birling he has responsibility over Eva's suicide, the Inspector directly says that with priviliges there comes great responsibility. Unfortunately, Mr Birling still shrugs the Inspector's message off and will probably continue to respond to people of the lower class with a lack of respect and tolerance.
Similarly, Mrs Birling offers a very dismissive and unrepentant response to the Inspector's message. She simply 'cannot accept any responsibility' and refuses to even attempt to comply with the Inspector's lesson. Both Mr Birling and Mrs Birling represent the older, conservative generation of people in society. They are the stereotype of people that would dismiss and snub 'millions of Eva's'. Mr and Mrs Birling are far too comfortable with their lives in luxury to want to eradicate and reduce the amount of povertised lifestyles of less wealthy people.