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In An Inspector Calls, Priestley portrays inspector google as a peculiar mysterious man. His name Goole having the same pronunciation as “ghoul”, in another word a ghost/spirit. This suggests perhaps someone who has an interest in death and maybe is sent as Eva’s afterlife to haunt the guilt of the Birlings. Somehow like a supernatural almost. He is an omniscient character meaning he has unlimited knowledge which therefore explains the idea of him taking control of the situation and slowly breaking down the truth creating a story of a “chain of events”.
To start off, in act 1 Priestley conveys the appearance of inspector Goole through the use of stage directions. As the inspector enters, Priestley introduces him as ‘a big man’ who “creates at once an impression of massiveness,solidity, and purposefulness”. This line illustrates to the audience the importance of his role because he creates an impression of dominance. This is because it is not his appearance that adds tension, but rather his presence/manner that creates a sense of fear towards his suspects. In other words, he overpowers the Birlings with his presence. Priestley further empowers inspector Goole through the use of the adjectives “ massiveness” “solidity” and “purposefulness”, which is a tricolon technique.
Priestley’s use of “solidity’ represents the Inspector’s ability to remain composed even when characters breakout. The effect on the audience is that they would be curious to find out more of him and how he is going to develop the play. Another way Priestley presents the role of inspector google is through his dialogue, him (inspector google) being Priestley’s dramatic tool. He controls the pace and tension in the play with “one person and one inquiry at a time” This reinforces the idea of authority. He methodically works and investigates chronologically from one person to another, developing the conversations all linking them up together to make a “chain of events”, therefore he creates tension and suspense. The repetition of the noun “one” recommend that a person is protruding to express their guilt in many ways. It suggests to us how he does things his way and knows the whole story relating to Eva Smith’s death.
In act 2, Priestley conveys his socialist views through inspector Goole using him as a mouthpiece. During his conversation with Mr. Birling, he comments “ Public men, Mr. Birling has responsibilities as well as privileges.” This shows that the inspector looks at everyone equally which then relates to the theme ‘social change’ and how it developed. He doesn’t approve of the class division and is directly aiming to Mr. Birling who is from the upper class, that wealth and social standings need to be used properly. Towards the end, Inspector Goole delivers a message to the birlings, almost as if him being a god-like figure giving a lecture. In his final speech, he mentions “We don’t live alone, we are members of one body, we are responsible for each other”. This simply highlights Priestley’s socialist ideals through the inspector, as he is trying to reference that we are all part of one group/community, so we should help one another especially those who are in need and vulnerable. He states “members of one body” as if referring to a human body where if one of the organs don’t work then the rest of the body does not function, meaning everyone should work together to prevent any difficulty in life. This is also a metaphor. Furthermore, the pronoun “we” suggests everyone has responsibilities including him. The term “member” is utilized as its a way of saying that you are a part of something special. From this quotation, Priestley shows how powerful inspector google is by portraying the social responsibilities that we have to look after. Priestley’s intention to the audience is how everyone should behave morally and not let the harsh reality beat you down. In addition to act 3, Priestley develops the importance of inspector Goole through a vivid but honest speech. Inspector Goole’s closing line states “If men will not learn that lesson then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish”.
This quotation simply indicates the consequences of not obeying the social responsibility of each other and reinforces the idea that, people need to learn how to cope with such conditions or else they’ll result battling in hell-like catastrophe. Priestley uses dramatic irony about the horror of ww1 (when the play was set in 1912) and during the ww2 (when the play was written in 1945). This shows that the problem of the ruling classes is that they did not learn the lessons of the first world war resulting in the massive slaughter in ww2. In reference to inspector google’s importance, Priestley uses him to communicate and send his message and viewpoint to the audience, making the character seem like a prophet. This last line is seen as a warning for the future. Furthermore, the use of ‘fire’ and ‘blood’ gives the audience a vivid imagery and leaves them thinking about our responsibility and what it could result to if we disobey. In conclusion, inspector Goole plays a really important part in the play as he is the main character besides Eva. As I mentioned before, he is Priestley’s socialist voice, his vector, and his mouthpiece. His function was to make a change towards the selfishness of wealthy privileged people, for example, the Birlings. Inspector Goole not only does he force them to admit their guilt/responsibility but also tests their relationship strengths as a family.
Overall, I think that Priestley is successful when it comes to displaying his socialist views and ideas because he uses dramatic dialogue, stage directions, and characterization to show how everyone should be treated equally/fairly, no matter who they are and which class he or she is from. He awakens the audience about the moral social responsibilities and its consequences.
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