The Importance of the Inspector Goole in this play
- Pages: 15
- Word count: 3680
- Category: Play
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In this essay I am going to analyse the role of the inspector. I shall look at his importance as a ‘conscience’ figure, his effect on characters and as a dramatic tool. Firstly, I will look at the evidence we have about the ‘ghostly’ side of the character, the evidence I have about the inspector being a ‘ghost’ is that he knows an awful lot on the future and what is about to happen to Eva Smith, about her past life, what she did, worked and who were her friends. Her name was also known as Daisy Renton. This appears to be supernatural because a normal human being would not have the power to predict the future that and she was going to die.
He knows a lot about the Birling family and how they have played a part in this girl’s death. We know this because in the play script the inspector says ” she was employed in your works at one time”. He is very smart by covering up what he knows by saying he found a dairy at her place, but would he have had time to read the diary in detail? This is of dramatic importance because, without him saying he found a diary of hers, how on earth would he be able to know that amount of information he knew on Eva Smith and the Birlings.
For an inspector to know that much information, by just being at the scene of the crime is very unlikely. That’s why him mentioning the discovery of the diary is a dramatic importance. Otherwise the Birling family would have really questioned the inspector and suspicions would have been raised. The Inspectors name Mr ‘Goole’ is important because his name Goole is a homophone for the word ghost. The Birlings found about him being a fake inspector when they rang up the head police headquarters and gave his name in.
Also when Gerald met another real inspector down the road when he was taking a little breather he mentioned the name Goole and that inspector did not recall anyone being in the force around that village. He said, “I met a police sergeant I know down the road. I asked him about an Inspector ‘Goole’ and describe him thoroughly; he swore there wasn’t any Inspector ‘Goole’ or anybody in his description on the force here” Priestley believed in making a new society and the Inspector believes in that too.
This is because he doesn’t want people too be alienated, he wants people to all be the same, just like J. B. Priestley. ‘Goole’ says “one Eva Smith has gone but there are millions and millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with lives, their hopes and fears, their suffering and chance of happiness, all intertwined with our lives and what we think and say and do. We don’t live alone. We are members of one body, we are responsible for each other” he also says “and I tell you that the time will soon come, when if men will not learn that lesson, then”.
This shows us clearly he doesn’t want people to be treated differently but equally and there are many people left that needs help not punishment and are being deprived of freedom, he also expresses his anger to people who treat others badly, when he says ‘they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish’. Just like Priestley who has been affected by World War 2. The audience would have felt that the Birlings haven’t suffered though anything because they living through 1912.
Whereas the audience would have been very distressed and angry mainly because they had to endure life during World War 1;2 and they would have wanted the Birlings to live their life through the world war times. They have a lot of money and due to this they act in an arrogant manner by saying ‘nobody wants war’ and ‘the Titanic is unsinkable’. This shows the Birlings are thinking they are untouchable, too classy and too Important for anyone else in their time. Then shortly after his speech, the titanic sank. This shows things that are said to be ‘classy’ and ‘expensive’ don’t always turn out to be reliable and secure.
The audience must be thinking ‘who do these people think they are’? They are living an easy life no problems, conflicts, if they had problems they would just try to solve them by flashing their cash and would express their power in society, that’s their problem solver for everything. The events when the play is set and when the play was written are significant because, it is linked with the play, in many ways. The play was set in 1912 these things were taking place at that time: World War was about to start, huge strikes in factories and many food shortages because of the war.
The titanic was about to sink. We know they is alikeness when Mr Birling says, “Germans don’t want war nobody wants war” and “the Titanic is unsinkable absolutely unsinkable” showing irony as Mr Birling is not aware of the reality of the world, he is too selfish and concerned with himself. The play was set in 1945 just one week after world war 2 had finished. The events taking place at that time were; War, industrial revolution and the S. movement. This is significant because J. B. Priestley is trying to get his message across.
His message is that in the 1912s before the world wars had started the people in those days were big headed and arrogant and didn’t care about other people but themselves. The Birlings hadn’t been though what Priestley and the audience had been though, poverty, anguish, torment and mental distress. He wrote the play after the world wars so he knew what it was like back in those days. The reason behind why he set the play in 1912 before the war is because he knew what kind of people lived then and how things had developed after the war and the years he had lived.
The people of that time were very egotistic, to superior and was self centred and didn’t care about other people as long as they were happy. The characters all respond very differently to the Inspector: Arrogance is displayed by Mr Birling when he says, “yes yes horrid business but I don’t understand why you should come here, Inspector” the word come here indicates that their sort (rich and popular) should not be questioned because of their high popularity in the village, and saying that his sort in society should be excluded from all acts of crime and investigations made.
He doesn’t even stop for a minute and ask the Inspector how he could be of any help to find the cause for the girl’s death. He strongly believes that ‘a man has to make his own way’. He doesn’t care about anyone else. Mr Birling sees the marriage of Gerald to his daughter as a business deal because all he cares about is money and profit and because Gerald’s dad owns the other rich business in town all Mr Birling can think about is joining forces and making even more money.
I have a quotation to back this up, ” your father and I have been friendly rivals in business for some time now, and now you’ve brought us together, and perhaps we may look forward to the time when the Crofts and Birlings are no longer competing but are working together for lower costs and higher prices” this clearly states that he doesn’t really care less whether his daughter marries tramp but as long as his business benefits and makes profit, this shows his character as being greedy and self-centred.
Mrs Birling shows Pride when she says “I’m talking to the Inspector now, if you don’t mind” this shows us that she is not like Mr Birling self centred and doesn’t care. She is willing to speak to him to help in any kind of way. She also says “you know of course my husband was a lord mayor only two years ago and that he’s still a magistrate” The word of course shows us that because her family is rich and people should assume they have good jobs and roles in the society, showing her being big headed and ‘too Important’.
She tries to deny the blame and when it comes to that she has know one else to blame but the father of Eva’s baby, her son Eric. Sheila on the other hand, does not behave like her parents being selfish and big headed. She say’s “but these girls aren’t cheap labour- they’re people” she is showing us she has a different view on people and cares for others and they shouldn’t be treated worst then herself even if they are not rich. When Sheila learns her part she plays in the death of Eva Smith death she is deeply sorry and upset.
Sheila was the one who got Eva sacked from her second job for nothing. She did this by reporting her to the manager for smiling at the assistant as if to say ‘she looks awful in that dress’. This shows because of her power in society she got an innocent girl sacked. She shows her regret and sorrow later on in the play. What I mean by this is further on in the play her attitude and thoughts change. For example when she says, ” I got that girl sacked from Milwards. And now you’ve made up your mind I must obviously be a selfish, vindictive creature”.
This shows she is suggesting it is her fault why the girls’ life went down hill, when she got sacked from her work for nothing and the girl had no money to live and was pregnant. Whereas Gerald Croft, is a very calm friendly chap but has a dark side know one knows until the Inspector comes. His involvement with the girl is very suspicious as he lived with her whilst aiding her. He allowed her to stay at his friend’s house while his friend was away and Gerald was taking sexual pleasures as a payment for his generosity.
He is very co-operative while being questioned because he is not hiding anything so he is not cautious in what he says, to the Inspector. Gerald met Eva Smith but knew her as Daisy Renton in a club when he noticed her sitting alone. That’s when he took her, helped her and she stayed with her at his friends house during the summer. Eric is an alcoholic. He had a relationship with Eva Smith known as Daisy Renton while she was lonely and vulnerable. He makes love to her and she falls pregnant with his child. They don’t get married, as Eva knows that they are not in love.
Eric does offer to give Eva some money, which he stole from his dad’s office when hearing she will be giving birth to his baby. She refuses to accept this money as she feels she is not a charity and has dignity in herself. When the Inspector tells him about Eva’s death he is very shocked and startled we know this because he says “oh god”. Only Sheila and Eric have accepted their responsibility, they are fully aware of the impact of the Inspector’s message and they seem to have a clearer conscience because of that. Mr Birlings complete ignorance and showing no sympathy makes me very suspicious towards him being involved with Eva’s death.
Now that I have analysed the characters I would like to consider how the Inspector appears on stage. When I watched the video of ”An Inspector calls” I noticed that the Inspector was quite unusual in the way he talks to them. I have reason to believe this when he says ”one person and one line of inquiry at a time. Otherwise there’s muddle”. This is untrue because a real inspector would have interviewed, separately and in a room alone unlike the Inspector who has them all in the same room but talks to them one at a time. His most dramatic moment is when he says “but just remember this.
One Eva Smith has gone but there are millions and millions and millions of Eva smiths and John Smiths still left with us, with their lives, their hopes and fears, their suffering and chance of happiness all intertwined with our lives and what we think and say and do. We don’t live alone we are members of one body. We are responsible for each other” from the word one body we can tell he has the same view of Priestley for everyone to be treated equally. We can also tell from this speech the ‘Inspector’ is linked to Priestley, because the ‘Inspector’ here is getting the message across that we should all be equal and have the same rights.
As Priestley supported socialism he wanted everyone to have the same rights equally. That’s why he published his play shortly after World War 2 to get his message across. He creates tension and suspense by the slow unravelling of the plot and the use of the detective whodunit style. The whodunit style keeps the audience guessing all the way through the play. As the clues are solved and unfurled the culprit becomes clearer but as soon as one thinks he or she knows who it is, Priestley cleverly seems to switch to the inspecting of another character.
This is a very good technique. The Birlings represents the richer people in society that does not care for their fellow companions. Priestley really tries to get the message across of the importance for care of your neighbourhood and other humans. Priestley believed that everyone should be equal and at least help each other not be horrible against each other. He thought that if people kept on doing this it was wrong and selfish.
“And I tell you that the time will soon come when man will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish”. Anguish’ is a very powerful word showing us the image of a war and innocent people dying, the same as ‘blood’ giving us a picture of people being shot and brutally dying. Now think of the play as if you were in the audience what does the inspector do or say which would make the play more exciting to watch: The Inspector could have made the play more exciting by staying in the play till Gerald came back with the information that he is a fake inspector. That would have made the play much more interesting and absorbing.
How would the ‘Inspector’ react to the Birlings questioning and get out of the trouble he’s in, not being a real inspector and knowing all that information about the Birling family and Eva Smith. This would make the family very suspicious and curious. The Birling family may call the police before listening to any of the ‘Inspector’s’ excuses. Gerald may even come back into the act and speak to Mr Birling on the sly and tell him what he knows about the ‘inspector’ and call the police without the ‘Inspector’ knowing and keeping him talking until the police arrive. The props that the Inspector used were a photograph and a diary.
He only showed the photograph to Mr Birling and said he “only interviews one person at a time”. So why were they all in the dining room? A real inspector would have done the interview at the police station or in a room alone with the person. The reason he says ‘He only Interviews one person at a time’. Is because Gerald and Eric asked to see the photograph and he didn’t want them too see the photograph for some reason, but cleverly the ‘Inspector’ says he only ‘interviews one person at a time’ so that he wont be able to show the photo to them at that time until he interviews them so hopefully by that time they would have forgotten.
When he comes round to interview Gerald and Eric he only said a name but doesn’t show the photograph he showed to the others. In fact the women in the photograph was different to the woman he named to Gerald and Eric. This is how Gerald and Eric get themselves into the frame of the crime. The Inspector says “I found a photograph of her in her lodgings perhaps you’d remember her from that”. Then he shows the photograph too Mr Birling. Gerald then says “any particular reason why I shouldn’t see this girls photo, Inspector “? Eric says the same. The Inspector then say’s ” it’s the way I like to work.
One person and one line of inquiry at a time, otherwise there’s a muddle”. This is his way of clarifying why they both shouldn’t see the picture at that moment. The Inspector has shown Mr Birling a picture of a girl that worked in his factory and because there are so many girls and many of them are requesting high pay how is he meant to know all their names and who he sacked and who he didn’t? He is likely to know the girls that work in his factory face to face rather than names to faces. The Inspector has therefore shown him a picture of a girl that worked in his factory and has given her a fake name that Mr Birling is to be none the wiser.
When its Gerald and Eric’s turn to be interviewed he mentions that same name so they are both linked to the same girl by saying they knew that name but did they know that girl in the photo? The Inspector has not shown them the photo so how do they know that girl called Eva Smith is the one in the photo that Mr Birling knows. The Inspector says that Mrs Birling is linked to the girl’s death because when the girl came to her organisation where she works Mrs Birling rejected her claim for help and money when the girl really needed it because she was pregnant and had no money.
The Inspector says that Sheila is linked to the girl’s death because she reported her to the manager when she saw the girl smiling at an assistant while trying on a dress in a shop. When the manager received this complaint he sacked her without investigating but just sacking her like that because she was a lower class girl in the society and just a ‘girl’ to the upper class citizens. The Inspector shows Sheila a photograph of ‘Eva Smith’ and Sheila runs out of the room crying, this shows us she knew the girl and felt guilty. We know this because she says “so I’m really responsible”? Sheila may have reported the girl in an act of jealousy.
We have reason to believe this because she says “and it just suited her (the dress). She was the right type for it, just as I was the wrong type. She was a very pretty girl too. When I tried the thing on (the dress) and looked at myself and knew that it was all wrong”. This indicates she was envious that the dress suited the lower class girl better than her. Sheila holds up her hands and takes whatever blames can be pinned on her. The Inspector says “no, not entirely everything is your fault, a good deal happened to her after that incident, you party to blame just as your father is”(before he’s spoken to the others).
He says this is because Mr Birling sacked the girl for wanting a higher wage and Sheila got her sacked for nothing when she had herself back on track with a new job. The Inspector says that Eric is partly to blame for Eva’s death because he gave her ‘love’ when she was vulnerable and took advantage of her. He got her pregnant and when finding out he ended their relationship and left her with nothing The Inspector arrives when the Birling family are celebrating the engagement of their daughter Sheila Birling to Gerald Croft. He arrives at an awkward time when they are happy and merry to kill the buzz of the house.
They were having a nice time until they started getting interrogated by Mr ‘Goole’. He departs just before Gerald comes back from his walk outside with information that Mr Goole is a fake Inspector. While he was outside getting some fresh air he met this police officer that he knew and told him about a Inspector ‘Goole’ and describe him but that police office swore he knew of know one by that name and description so that’s how he knew they’d been fooled. The Inspector is a conscience to the Birling family because he knows what they have done to cause the death of Eva Smith/Daisy Renton. A conscience is ones conduct together with the urge to prefer right over wrong’.
Your conscience should be honest and not be hiding the truth or if you’re hiding something or have committed a crime you therefore have a conscience. Your conscience can sometimes make you stressed and mentally distressed and cause you too crack up and do something like committing suicide. In conclusion my opinion is that the Inspector is important in getting Priestley’s point of view across because, the play was published shortly after the war and Priestley would have wanted to express his feelings about violence and the cruel act of killing innocent people.
He would also want to prevent any further conflicts and teach people the right way in life is not fighting to get what you want. The morale to this story is that everyone should be treated equally and fairly no matter whom you are and whatever circumstances they are living under. Priestley’s play shows the rich (the Birlings) people taking responsibility for the girls death this makes them think that actions and doings towards other people can affect them in the long run making them, realises that no one should have to be treated any different because of their social ‘position’ to society.