In this Play the inspector plays various roles. He plays a socialist as he is against capitalist views and because he is not just looking out for himself but others as well. Also he is known to be a catalyst as he brings a split in the Birling family. He plays a ghost as we find out he is not real. Additionally he plays a fraud because he is not a real inspector, but he does act as an Inspector. The inspector adds a great deal of tension and drama to the play. Priestley does this because he brings tension between the younger generation consisting of Sheila and Eric and the older generation consisting of Gerald, Mrs.Order now
Birling and Birling because of the inspector. Priestley uses the inspector as a substitute of him self to put his socialist points across this adds drama because we have to think about what he is trying to do. The four Birlings and Gerald are happily seated around the dinner table having an enjoyable night celebrating Sheila and Gerald”s engagement. All of them are feeling happy and are comfortable and relaxed and do not seem to have a care in the world but all of that is about to change. The scene is set in 1912, which is a pre war time. Also this is the time when the suffragettes were fighting for women”s rights.
Additionally this was the time that the Titanic was built. The unsinkable ship, which ironically sank, would set sail in a week”s time. The life that the Birlings live is very nice and easy but Priestley is showing how great things always end in disaster like the evening they are having. This is also ironic as he starts by telling us how the Titanic was unsinkable and it ended and just like he will go on to tell us how the Birling”s lives are good at the moment but this will soon come to an end. The story does have some relevance to the early nineties even if the novel it was written in 1945.
All these points are there to remind us of how not all good things last and how we should all look out for each other and not just for ourselves. An example is “We are members of one body,” said the inspector. This shows us that the inspector is enforcing the point of being part of one community and that we should look out for one and other. This also shows the link of how the inspector could just be Priestley in another form such as a ghost. I believe that Priestley is reminding us to look out for each other just in case any major wars happen and we have to rely on each other so that”s maybe why he is enforcing this.
When the inspector first enters the stage the atmosphere changes but not a great deal on first sight of the inspector. The inspector does not appear to be a big man but he does make him self appear strong and confident. He gives an impression that he will destroy them if they toy with him. Sheila changes the way she thinks and decides from now on she is going to be good. She has come to this decision as a result of the influence the inspector has had on her. His socialist views have been understood by Sheila and have changed her because she is going to start to care for other people.
For example “whoever that inspector was it was anything but a joke. You knew it then. You began to learn something. And now you”ve stopped,” said Sheila. This shows us that the Inspector really has influenced Sheila and she has learnt something from what he is trying to say. Also she is showing the divide between the Birlings when they find out the inspector was not real as they now will not take responsibility for the death of Eva Smith but the youngsters will. The Inspector creates a split between the family by dividing the younger and older generations.
He is a catalyst because he divides the family and makes them angry at each other. Gerald and Sheila will not get married because of the inspector”s visit. Birling may not get his knighthood because of the visit from the inspector may cause a scandal. All these things are the effects of the Inspector”s visit. All Priestley is trying to do is make everyone take responsibility for their actions, for example what he is doing to the Birlings. By doing this it makes the audience feel like they need to do the same thing but not act like the older generation of the Birlings but act like the younger generation.
Near the end of the play the inspector is thought to be a fraud. The Birlings have various reasons to believe this. There was no information about him and he did not tell us anything about himself when he introduces him self. He is unknown in the force as the policeman Gerald asked said there was no such inspector. Also Birling is very familiar with the county police force and he said he had never seen or heard of an Inspector under the name Goole. The way he was working through the Birlings made them think he was a fraud as no inspector has ever done this to the Birling”s before.
Near the end of the play it is discovered that there is no inspector named Goole and he has never been seen on the police force. For example “â€¦I met a sergeant I knowâ€¦ He swore there wasn”t any inspector Goole or anybody like him on the force here,” said Gerald. This is proof there is no Inspector Goole and he really is a fraud. Also There”s is more proof because no other inspector works like him but it definitely is very effective as he left the Birling family in shambles. The Inspector is considered a fraud. Gerald is the first to question if the inspector really is an Inspector.
He goes on to say that the inspector did not show all of us the same picture as he showed everyone a picture one by one so there is no evidence that he could have showed each of them all different pictures let alone the real Eva Smith. They all may have seen different photos. He then goes on to say that there was no evidence to prove that there really was a young girl called Eva Smith that had died. This is Gerald”s view of how the inspector works and how it makes him a fraud. The inspector also tells us how and why he works. “It”s the way I like to work. One person and one line of inquiry at a time.
Otherwise, there”s a muddle. ” This shows us how the Inspector explains how he works and why. This sounds like the real way an inspector should work which misleads us at the beginning of the play and makes us think he really is an inspector. This makes the story effective and dramatic because it all leads to a huge twist at the end when we find out the inspector does not really exist and there is no dead girl called Eva Smith however there is another twist at the end when they really do find out an Eva Smith had really died and an inspector is on his way over.
This makes the story more interesting and more dramatic like a soap opera and it adds more suspense to the play. The inspector is used in the story as someone who is supposed to be like J. B Priestley. He is like a substitute for J. B Priestly and they are linked as the inspector is being used to put across his messages. The inspector is in the story to make the Birling”s have responsibility for their actions. He is trying to make people think about what they do before they do it. “Look before you leap” as the saying goes.
The inspector is trying to say that people should all be treated equally. All these messages are aimed at the audience as well as the Birlings. This is how Priestley gets his points out to us, through the link between him and the inspector. I think his main messages are that we are all part of one community, not individual people but we are connected one way or another so we have to care for each other and look after each other. For example “â€¦. We are responsible for each other,” said the inspector. This shows us the inspector has socialist views and does care about others apart from himself.
Priestley puts across message of capitalism verses socialism as he shows the Inspector, the socialist saying how we should not be like a capitalist but more like a socialist and care for one another. The inspector is a socialist as is Priestley and have socialist views. They are against capitalism, as they do not feel you should just earn a living for money and for yourself but you should help other people. The inspector”s name is a pun for ghoul. This then leads us to believe that the inspector does not exist. He is some sort of ghost or phantom who is a nightmare to the Birlings.
The Birlings have other beliefs that prove the inspector does not exist like Gerald. He finds out from another police sergeant from the county force that there is no one like or called the inspector they had met. In addition, the older generation seem to think it is all a hoax. For example “It”s a hoax of some kind,” said Gerald. This shows that the older generation thinks it is some old fool playing a trick on them causing a scandal. There is nothing wrong with them believing this as they now have evidence that the inspector really is not an inspector but a fraud but that is only if he really does exist which is unknown to everyone.
It could also show that the inspector is a bad ghoul playing tricks on family to have fun. He seems to know about he future because he knows what will happen to Eva Smith that no one else knows about, which may give the audience an idea that he is not a human being. He is another type of life such as a spirit that does not exist in our world, as it is virtually impossible to predict the future. He does make the Birlings scared of him as he breaks them down one by one leading them to confess. This may also show why he is a ghoul because he is scary.
The inspector being a ghoul makes the audience more interested in the story because there is no obvious thing at the beginning of the story that gives him away but we all have our suspicions and this leads to tension as we want to continue to view the play to find out whether our suspicions were correct or not. This is another aspect that makes the play so good and again it involves the truth hidden behind the inspector. The inspector had an enormous affect on the Birlings. He caused them to fall out with each other and go against each other.
From all what he told them the only people that actually learnt their lesson was the younger generation. The elders did not as when they found out the inspector was a fraud they were celebrating so what the inspector said went through one ear out the other. I think the family could get back to how they were before but it would be on Sheila and Eric”s conscience that they once helped lead a girl to suicide. Priestleys over all message in this story was we are all part of one community and we have to look after each other rather than just looking out for ourselves.
If one person is affected in the community than all of us are. That is what Priestleys over all message is. I believe the over all role of the inspector was to play a substitute of Priestley to get Priestleys messages across to the audience and the Birlings. The Inspector has many hidden messages in him. He plays so many different roles and the he himself makes the whole story. He makes you think and puts across the messages, which to me is the point of the book. He is very effective and adds a great deal of drama.