Inspector Goole

Published: 2021-07-29 03:10:06
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Category: Research

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Inspector Goole in Priestley’s play An Inspector Calls’ is arguably the most important character. An agent of change and a voice and a voice of personal and social conscience he delivers the main message of the play in his parting speech challenging the Birlings, and the audience, to “Remember” that there are “millions and millions” of people like Eva Smith, all “linked” in some way. Clearly at this stage his examination of the Birlings behaviour and the investigation of the suicide of Eva Smith proves he is the voice of morality.
Goole states “we don’t live alone” and are “responsible for each other”. This message is in direct contrast to the one delivered by Arthur Birling at the start of the play where he claims a man has to “look after himself and his own” I believe it is no coincidence that Inspector Goole joins the play at this point and sets the tone for the conflict the two are going to have throughout the entirety of the play.
The way that Inspector Goole conducts his “investigation” of sorts not only exposes Eva Smiths tragic “chain of Events” which leads to her eventual suicide but also enables the audience to understand each individual characters role in Eva’s death for Sheila getting her fired from her last steady job and Arthur Birling caring to much about “lower costs and higher prices” than his workers welfare.



Goole is very clear when informing the Birlings and Gerald Croft of the way he like to “go to Work”! He states he will use “one line of inquiry” at a time. He feels to do otherwise would result in a “muddle”. Certainly his way of investigation highlights his polar opposite opinion to Arthur Birling whereas he believes in a “butterfly effect” where each character has individually contributed to the downward spiral of Eva Smith’s life. Goole exposes the guilt of each character.
The Birlings seem, at the beginning of the play to be a respectable “up market” family even Gerald Croft comments that they appear a “nice well behaved” family, but Goole shows this too all be a fake disguise when he reveals through his research methods that they are actually a family which thinks they are “socially” superior and one that is totally centred around power this statement is proved when Arthur Birling says “ ex Lord Mayor” and “ I was on the bench” and this so fought over power is abused many times in the book by the haracters for example when Gerald Croft uses his monetary advantage to abuse Eva for sex and when Sheila uses her father’s name to get Eva fired from her job at Millwoods. The Inspector quickly creates a conflict between the age generations with the elders staying “stuck in their ways” and not taking any kind of responsibility for their role in Eva Smith’s death, whereas the younger generation know they have to “share the guilt” respectively as they are all to blame for Eva’s death.
When Priestly wrote this play I believe he invented the character Inspector Goole to spread his message of “responsibility” through his dialogue this point is proved on many occasions when the inspector speaks to the Birlings about how they must “take responsibility” for their actions” and “share the guilt”. He also has a massive speech just before he leaves the Birlings house to round off everything he has tried to get them to learn. Which even though they later find out he was not actually an Inspector teaches the younger generation at lesson about “responsibility” and the effect their actions had on others.

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