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Transcript of Inspector GOOLE
The names of characters
The names of the characters could reveal something about them which Priestley has tried to subtly do such as include a message.
'the lighting should be pink and intimate until the Inspector arrives, and then it should be brighter and harder' - stage directions
The inspector is a representation of the lower class ,giving them a voice . SL
Priestley uses the Inspector to show the audience that everyone in society is linked. He uses the idea of a chain to show the audience the the lack of responsibility in society at the time. AS
The inspector tries to confront each of the characters to make them learn about social responsibility and to make them accept their guilt. AS
Preisley uses the inspector to express the concerns of the working class and how capitalist men, like Birling, exploits them by doing hard labor jobs for minimum wages. DC
Priestley uses the inspector to teach the
Birlings a lesson. In this aspect an Inspector
Calls could be seen as a mortality play, which
aims is to teach a lesson to someone who has done
Priestley leaved the book with us not knowing
if inspector goole is a real inspector or not. DC
The inspector can be see as a
conscience or ghost. This can
be supported with the name
GOOLE, as in ghoul, which is either
a person with a morbid interest in
death. Or a phantom like figure. DC
Sheila catches on to this very early on, in the early start of Act Two she says to the inspector " I don't understand about you." This could be a sixth sense, she suspects he is not a real inspector. Or she could be curious to how he knows so much about Eva Smith, and how he knows they are all connected. DC
The change of lighting from 'intimate' to 'bright and hard' shows that the Birling family are now under interrogation from the Inspector, it is as if a spotlight is being shone on the family and it is highlighting their faults and lack of responsibility.
Another interpretation for the change in lighting would be that when the Inspector enters the stage he puts the family into a sort of limbo or time freeze, this would explain why when he leaves the house the lighting changes back and the telephone then rings so suddenly. this would then suggest that the Inspector is not in fact a real person but a type of ghostly figure who has come to test the Birlings.
We can see the the Birlings are being tested, because although the plot seems to revolve around the death of Eva Smith, the Inspector could be seen as using this as an opportunity to test the Birling's and their responsibility, if this were the case, in the Inspectors eyes, Eva and Eric would have passed the test while Birling and Mrs Birling would have failed the test, Gerald seems to neither have failed or passed this test. when the phone rings at the end of the play it could be seen as a second chance for the Birlings to accept social responsibility.
Not only does Sheila seem to catch on the mysterious nature of the inspector quickly but she soon understands his teachings on responsibility, and we see the two characters becoming a sort of team, we can see this when Sheila helps the Inspector by asking Gerald to confess.
"The factories and warehouses wouldn't know where to look for cheap labour. Ask your father" AS
The inspector does this to present the themes of the play such as social and moral responsibility. This is seen in his speech "We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other." AS
The inspector may represent each member of the Birling family's conscience by asking them about their connection to Eva and blaming them for her death. This is what Priestley may want us to believe. AS
However this may be seen as the inspector intruding and breaking up the family. He does this to bring the truth into the Birling's life to show that they are connected wiht everyone in society. AS
Priestley uses the Inspector as a mouthpiece for his ideology, not just to the Birling's, but to the audience as well. OG
The inspector has authority as he interrupts Mr Birling and deals with the family harshly AS
The name Eva could be from the first woman (Adam and Eve) which may suggest that Eva represents all women as one.
The name Smith is also a very common name which may also represent many men and women in the same position as Eva Smith.
'millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths left with us
The inspector makes a very dramatic entrance "an impression of massiveness" AS
''...we are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will come when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire blood and anguish''. OG
This shows the inspector as authoritative. The adjective "massiveness" is bigger than Mr Birling showing they are fighting over power. Priestley uses this dramatic entrance to highlight the mystery of the inspector. AS
The family all have responsibilty for Eva Smiths death however the older generation of the Birling family refuse to accept any responsibility MH
This is also example of one of the Inspector's moral teachings. He uses ''blood, fire and anguish'' as a reference to war, perhaps in a subtle way to warn the Birling's. OG
The Inspector could be seen to be there to 'test' the characters, to see if they will take responsibility for Eva's death. Eric and Shelia are of the younger generation and feel remorse for their actions, and therefore pass the test, while Mr and Mrs Birling fail, as they still are not willing to take any responsibility for their part in Eva's death. OG
''(Unhappily) My God- I'm not likely to forget.'' -Eric OG
''I know I'm to blame'' - Shelia OG
This makes the Birling's feel very uneasy and vulnerable as this is something they can't control. The Inspector also has a lot of authority over the characters, especially Mr Birling, as he often cuts when he is speaking with a forceful yet calm manner. OG
One Eva Smith is gone-but there are millions and millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with us : The inspector not only teaches them lessons to take responsibility but also teaches them by reminding them not to be only sorry for Eva ,but reminds them these incidents are still happening around them and offers them the chance to change themselves and the society. SL
When he 'surveys them sardonically' it gives him an impression of him as the lower class who is mocking the irony of the upper class about their behaviors which don't fit their title. SL
This can demonstrate how
the Inspector has had an impact
on the younger generation for the better, by his moral
teachings and authoritative presence. GT
The inspector could be seen as an enigma, perhaps even a figment of the Birlings guilt... Goole stands for justice and morality as well as being distinctively purposeful.
Or he could be seen as conscience of the Birling's. OG
By 'fire blood and anguish' the Inspector could
be referring to war (world word one). By this, the Inspector explains to us how our own society will cause conflict if we don't accept that we are 'class-less' and all 'members of one body'- GT
'Goole' reminds us of ghouls and ghosts and therefore indicates that perhaps he is an 'unreal' person. LM
Preistley shows the development Shelia's character through the change of modal verbs in one of her speeches from "can't believe" to "won't believe" . This implies that at first Shelia didn't want to accept blame but begins to realise that there are more culprits involved in Eva's suicide. LM
Stage directions such as 'Cutting through harshly,' shows how the Inspector tries to keep authority over Mr Birling. LM
This can also be shown when Birling says,"it doens't seem to be very important to me,". Birling comes across as thinking he knows everything and undermining the Inspector. LM
It could be suggested that Priestley ends the play with the phone ringing to give the characters a second chance IM
It could be argued that the Inspector is in control of the events in the play as well as the characters in it, almost like a narrator, or a person retelling the events. This is shown as each act ends in a cliff hanger, bought on by the Inspector himself. IM
"Inspector holds up hand.... Curtains fall quickly" (p49). Further shows his control over the events in the play IM
It is noticed that the Inspector is in a great hurry to leave towards the end of the play, which add to his mystery as well as the audiences suspicions that he is something "unreal" (because he knows what will happen next- gets found out by Gerald) "I haven't much time" IM
The Inspector also represents/ reinforces all of the themes appropriate to the play (responsibility, classes e.g) IM
Could be argued that Inspector Goole is misunderstood by the Birlings - like a ghost that they didn't think was real IM
As well as lighting, the inspectors presence also manages to change the characters moods, again implying that the characters are under an interogation and should therefore be tense IM
'Cutting through massively' is an example of Priestley using the Inspector as his voice to educate the audience about his personal views of the upper-class and society and the importance of them. The adverb 'massively' enables to highlight the importance of his speech and create at once a sense of 'massiveness, solidity and purpose.' BK
Priestley articulates the need for a sense of humanity and compassion through the Inspector's speech. "It would be good if sometimes we tried to put ourselves in the place of these young women" indicates that Priestley is trying to educate the audience that we don't live alone, we live in a society and therefore we should look after each other and take responsibility for one another by putting ourselves into other people's shoes. BK
Although at the start of the play a lot of the Inspector's stage directions indicates that he is 'calm' or that he interrogates the Birlings 'with calm authority', it is evident that he becomes 'distressed' towards the end. BK.
Priestley purposely develops the Inspector's mood from 'calm' to 'distressed' whilst interrogating the Birlings to represent his frustration that no matter how much you tell the upper-class about equality and having responsibility for others, people like Mr and Mrs Birling will never change. BK
This further underlines that the Birling family are not as strong and powerful than Mr Birling makes out from the outward appearance he creates of himself and his family, due to the truths being uncovered during their interrogations, which could be represented by the more intense lighting in the presence of the Inspector. MB
Alternatively, Inspector could also be interpreted as
Alternatively, Inspector Goole could also be interpreted as the voices of God or Priestly, perhaps even the voice of all our consciences, due to all the mystery that the Inspector brings such as the way he works and questions each individual member of the Birling family, plus all the knowledge and views that he has and brings with him to the Birling household. MB
The inspectors duty
We can see that the inspector feels a
sense of duty
from the structured way he carries out his
investigation. However we learn later he is not from
the police leaving us to question what this duty is.
continuing the air of mystery surrounding this character
For the duration of time that the Inspector is present at the Birling family's house, it could be argued that he is there to test each of the characters to see if they will take any individual responsibility for the death of Eva Smith, or to see if they will turn their heads to have anything to do with her at all. MB
Its my duty to ask questions"
"One person and one line of inquiry at a time." JH
The Daldry Version
It is interesting to note how in the Daldry version of "An Inspector calls" Daldry sets up a mysterious and eerie atmosphere for when the Inspector enters. He mainly does this through the set e.g. nightfall and it is raining . He does this so that the audience realise that the Inspector is the
The inspector plays with a young child at the start of the Daldry version, this portrays the Inspectors more paternal, gentle, and warm hearted side to the audience. SR
The idea of the Inspector being the voice of God or some inner conscientiousness would support the idea that An Inspector Calls is a morality play, as it contains the criteria of a moral or lesson to be learned and a representation of both good and evil (Sheila and Mr and Mrs Birling) and a perhaps an omnipotent God-like figure.
The idea of the inspector being God, or some other supernatural creature, would also explain his grand sense of authority over the Birling family and Gerald; all people of some importance and power (Gerald being supposedly the heir of his father's company, which is most likely very wealthy). Whereas, the Inspector's mere presence has the ability to change the atmosphere of the room (lights going from soft and dim, to brighter and harder), proving his authority. It would be likely that his ability to shift the power from a well off family in their own home to himself, comes from him being some sort of omnipotent spectre (Goole- ghoul) or even God.
This also suggest that he is "a man of the people" or at least that he is their spokes person (considering that they cannot speak for themselves as directly as the Inspector can, e.g by confronting the Birling's in their own home) , and that he opposes the capitalist Birling family and Gerald. The way he plays with the lower class child in the street and blatantly attacks the Birling's without hesitation makes clear his attitudes toward social classes.
The moral contrasts between the generations are clearly presented throughout the play in many different ways however Priestley uses inspector Goole to emphasize this by the
way he speaks towards the different members
of the Birling family. S.L
he uses a calm, stern tone showing authority and power. By using this tone of voice the audience seem to respect him and admire him more. Sheila is the first character in the play to feel guilty and take responsibility for her actions, which is why the inspector comes across as being knowledgeable and composed. S.L
This contrasts with how the inspector acts around
in Act 3. The character of Mrs Birling is shown to be very stubborn and irresponsible. This proves to aggravate inspector Goole as he begins to get angry and impatient. S.L
"No not entirely. A good deal happened to her after that. But you are partly to blame. Just as your father is." S.L
"(very sternly)...Don't stammer and yammer at me again, man. I'm losing all patience with you people" S.L
when the inspector enters the Birlings' household the mood quickly changes, which could show how the inspector has a strong presence in the house of the duration of the play. CW
Through use of this......