The play “An Inspector Calls” was written by JB Priestley in 1945. The play is set in 1912. this is just after the Victorian times and the beginning of the Edwardian times. This is quite significant because this was the time when people began getting freedom with strikes and women started to try and get independence. In this essay I will try to explain the inspector’s role in the play. The play is about a family which are fairly wealthy and during a celebration an inspector called. He started by asking the father, Mr. Birling, whether he knew a woman called Eva Smith, he said that he did and then he said that this woman had today, committed suicide, by drinking a bottle of disinfectant. Mr. Birling thought nothing of this, but he was soon going to find out that him and all of his family were connected to this.
She once worked in his factory but she was fired because she went on strike to get a little more money. After this, because she was a young and talented young girl, she went to a famous store to work there. Sheila Birling came to the store and tried on the dress, but she saw Eva laughing at her, so she got her fired. After suffering this much she still didn’t stop, she went to work in a bar which was a well known spot for “ladies of the night” or prostitutes to stay.
Gerald was Sheila’s fiance. He went to the theatre but got bored so went to this bar. He found Eva and thought she looked out of place, so he took her to a friends house (the friend was away). She stayed there for free but eventually her and Gerald started having an affair. After several months Gerald came back and told her that she would have to leave and set her on her way with some money. Without anything she could do she went off. Eva next went to Mrs. Birling, who was a person similar to a judge who could help Eva.
She said that her name was Mrs. Birling which was a great insult to the real Mrs. Birling, so she had the case dismissed without any thought. Finally the inspector asks Eric for his role in all of this. He is Mr. Birling’s son. He met her in the same bar and thought she looked quite nice, so they both had a few drinks. A few days later they met up again and this time got totally drunk, and got married to each other.
Eric stole money to pay for this, but eventually he told her that he didn’t want this any more and asked her to leave him alone. This brought her to kill herself. The inspector left. After he left Mr. Birling phoned the police inspector that ran the whole area and he said there wasn’t an Inspector Goole on his force, so they all thought they were off the hook, until a while later they got a phone call saying “Mr. Birling, this is the police inspector. A girl killed herself today. She swallowed a bottle of disinfectant. I must come round and ask you some questions.”
No-one ever found out who the first inspector was. I think he could have been a voice of conscience because the Birlings all felt some guilt. I think that they all imagined what happened after what they did to Eva. This means that they may not all be picturing the same inspector, or they might not all be picturing the same girl. The whole thing could be a ‘de-ja-vu’ or a dream, and they wake up not realising they were asleep or imagining it. In this case the first inspector wouldn’t exist and when the second inspector came the whole situation could be exactly the same. Although we don’t know who he is, we can find out what part he played in the play.
Firstly there’s Mr. Birling. He is a wealthy factory owner and the head of the household. He thinks that he will be in this years lists for people getting knighthoods. He is also very greedy for power and wants to use it. He was the first to be interviewed by the inspector. At first he was calm and relaxed, as if it were a social call, but he soon turned violent. As the inspector carries on interviewing the family, he gets more nervous and angry. I also think he was getting a little worried, because if anyone found out about this, he could lose this opportunity to get a knighthood.
Mrs. Birling isn’t really that worried. She didn’t give too much away. “He certainly didn’t make me confess – as you call it. I just told him it was my duty”. When the inspector asked her a question she seemed to avoid answering the question properly. She seemed to bend the truth. Nearer the end of the play she seemed a little stupid, because she doesn’t understand what’s going on. She says that the boy responsible should be punished. “He ought to be dealt with very severely.”
Sheila warned her not to say that but she didn’t listen. Then Eric came back and she suddenly understood what she had said. She contradicted herself when she found out when she found out it was Eric, and said that punishing this boy would be stupid. During the play, she didn’t think what would happen, and she said whatever came into her head, without thinking of the consequences.