An Inspector Calls Questions and Answers
by J. B. Priestley

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How does Priestley make Inspector Goole's appearance and performance dramatically effective and interesting to watch?

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Inspector Goole from the start is shrouded in mystery, and this continues throughout the play. His name makes it worryingly clear that what will happen is more an inquisition of souls than a normal detective investigation. It is through his methodical and painstaking detective work that each member of the family is exposed as contributing to the death of Eva Smith. When he says to the family: "It's the way I like to work. One person and one line of inquiry at a time. Otherwise there's a muddle", we become aware that he will work his way through each character. Goole remains impervious to any of the threats delivered by in particular Mr. Birling, and throughout the play it is clear that he is in charge and remains calm and does not get flustered. As Gerald's affair is revealed, Sheila begins to understand what is happening through Inspector Goole's approach: "No, he is giving us rope - so that we will hang ourselves." Throughout the play, Inspector Goole, in his relationships with the other characters, skillfully manipulates them through means of a bombardment of penetrating questions and hard startes which leaves them all feeling awkward and adds to the tension of the play.

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num96 | Student

J.B Priestley uses a number of different methods to present the Inspector into the play, from the language he uses, including stage directions and mannerisms; his name, Inspector Goole; and his entrance into the play, to his political views and beliefs. These varied ways of presenting the Inspector to the audience and the other characters in the play help us to understand the play and helps set across the morals in the play. One of the most powerful and important aspects to the play is the Inspector's political view. Priestley presents the Inspector as a strong believer in socialism, meaning that he cares greatly for his fellow citizens and believes that everyone should be looked after by the government and treated fairly and equally. At the time the play was set, the Titanic was about to make its maiden voyage, representing the fact that modernisation was at its prime. The play was set when England was on the brink of World War One and women were campaigning for the right to vote. This means that at this particular time, people were very tense and anxious about the war and this may have caused them to forget any type of social morals. Priestley uses the Inspector to present his own views and outline the lack of social conduct. The play was performed just after World War Two. This means that when it was written and performed, there was much more known about the war and what had gone wrong. Priestley uses the morals in the play to make the audience see that if things had been different before the First World War, things might have been different as a result. Towards the end of the play, the Inspector makes a speech, which outlines his political views. He says that we should look after each other and stop thinking about ourselves so much, 'We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other.' This just shows how extreme his belief in socialism is and how he thinks people should live. He tried to teach the Birling's this through what he says and tried to force socialism on them.

blair-enchanted | Student

Inspector Goole dominates and controls the play and enfolds the excitement. Most importantly he adds dramatic effects which engages the audience and makes Priestley’s message more comprehensible. One way he does this is through language. “I’d like some information, if you don’t mind Mr Birling, Two hours ago a young women died in the Infirmary,” straight from the moment he walks in, the Inspector starts his inquiries. He uses a very commanding and blunt style with a hostile tone. Inspector Goole is known for “cutting through massively” which confirms he is very authoritative in his speech and presence. The Inspector is offensive but fair; he doesn’t give people with higher status’s any advantages or treat them any different “Public men, Mr Birling, have responsibilities as well as privileges”; he believes everyone is equal and society should aim to be like that. This could be considered Priestley’s key moral and message which supports the idea that Inspector ‘Ghoul’ is in fact Priestley’s voice. As the play progresses, the audience not only notices the Inspector getting through to other characters but we also see the Inspector show expressions of understanding and sympathy. This is portrayed through the stage directions, “stares speculatively after her.” I think this is a very effective line and should be presented very clearly to imply the Inspector is surprised as well as hopeful that Shelia understands that she’s made a mistake and moreover it supports Priestley’s idea; everybody makes mistakes but it isn’t too late to change your ways and change help society as a whole.



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