The inspector build tension up tension between the Birlings family at a early stage, by questioning each character and making a clear justified point, to their unlawful acts of selfishness used on Eva Smith. JB Priestly uses the inspector to show his audiences, how problematic and arrogant middle class men and women were during that period of time. The inspector in the play has an important role, in the play which can be identified as the person who encourages each character, to acknowledge their guilt for Eva Smith’s death. Which leads some character to face up to what they did.Order now
The first appearance of the inspector in act 1, it is seen that the inspector is hovering over the characters. As the audience reading the book or watching the play it is seen, that the inspector is creating an impression of, solidity and determination to get to the bottom of this incident. This is shown by the inspector refusing to let, Gerald see the photograph. The inspectors eagerness in making sure that Gerald sees the photograph, he says that he likes to work this way (act1, pg12) “One person and one line of inquiry at a time”. His spoken language is spoken attentively with a intriguing tone and a confusing look.
“Takes a photograph about a postcard and goes to Mr Birling” (act1, pg12). Once he has shown the photograph he stares firmly at Mr Birling then begins to question him, by giving his new information such as hinting out that she worked for him. In act 2 when the inspector has questioned Sheila, he turns to Mrs Birling he speaks to her with a controlled steady tone, but gradually it changes negatively and becomes more challenging as you can see by his approach “She came to you for help, at a time when no woman could have needed it more” (act2, pg45).
The inspector is trying to force Mrs Birling to admit her part, in Eva Smith’s death. The inspector speech to Mrs Birling is powerful and persuasive. JB Priestly has shown many ways to how the Inspector helps to build tension, up amongst the characters when questioning them. The inspector helps the character to confront their own weaknesses, which makes them feel shocked and guilty. At the beginning of the play the atmosphere at the Birlings is lively, because of Shelia and Gerald’s engagement do. With great amazement it is suddenly changed, when there is a knock on the door.
Before the appearance of the inspector the audience can tell Mr Birling acts a very self-confident and smug. He believes strongly in a capitalist world. JB Priestly has shown that the Mr Birling can be a well spoken, confident person who likes to speak and share his thoughts, to society but what he does not know how his actions affect others. You can tell this from his speech, before the inspector makes an appearance. (act1, pg9, 10) “Man has to make his own way, has to look after himself and his family too” he does not consider the harm he causes to other people with his attitude.
In act 1 Mr Birling refuses to accept any responsibility, for Eva Smiths death. He becomes increasing annoyed by the inspectors questioning. (act1, pg14) “Still I can’t accept any responsibility” shows that he has an honest approach to life he, tells the inspector that he wouldn’t listen to Eva Smith’s demand for a wage rise ‘I refused’ and is surprised why anyone should question why he refused. (act1, pg15) JB Priestly has shown what Mr Birling is like, and to what approach can be effective towards him to see his real personality this was done by the inspector questioning him briefly.
In the beginning Sheila is seen as an, immature girl who follows others. She is ‘very pleased with life’ (act1, pg2) She is young attractive, her happiness is soon to be destroyed, as is her faith in her family. I think she had been accompanied all her life and she followed others, but once the inspector makes an unexpected appearance it all changes. She realises that she has some sort of connection with, Eva Smith and that’s when the guilt starts to rule over her. She begins to feel distressed and sympathetic towards the death by wanting to accept the blame.
Sheila seems really focused unlike the other characters, in wanting to know what happened to her and is willing to help by being honest to the inspector. Once the inspector has questioned Shelia, he says to her “So you used the power? ” (act1, pg24) Sheila says “Oh I wish you hadn’t told me” (act1, pg17) this shows that he is pulling Sheila down. When the inspector speaks to Sheila, he speaks to her by giving her a lot of guilt and self-doubt, which makes Sheila re-question her integrity, to what she did and thought. For instance the inspector says to Sheila “cheap labour” (act1, pg19).