The Role of Inspector Goole in An Inspector Calls

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The Role of Inspector Goole in An Inspector Calls

In this essay I will be discussing the role of Inspector Goole in the

play ‘An Inspector Calls’. I will be commenting on the effect

Inspector Goole has on the other characters around him. I will also be

analysing dialogue to see how it helps to motivate the characters

around him. I will also analyse and interpret the theme of the play. I

will also look closely at how J B Priestley makes good use of

historical context.

Being set in 1912, ‘An Inspector Calls’ contains a lot of historical

context and political views which were around at the time. J B

Priestley has strong political views on social responsibility; which

motivated him to write this play. He wanted to convey his beliefs and

thoughts through a character, so he created Inspector Goole. J B

Priestley was a socialist and believed everyone lives together and we

all affect one another, he has used the Inspector to express his


The play is about an investigation into the suicide of Eva Smith, a

working class girl. The Birling’s do not realise that each one of them

had affected her life. However the main theme of the play is social

responsibility, which Priestley has strong views about. Inspector

Goole is the central character to this play and he has a strong aim

which he accomplishes. The inspectors aim is to make the Birling’s

feel remorse and learn from their mistakes.

Inspector Goole is a strong and confident character in the play. When

he walks in ‘he creates an impression of massiveness, solidity and

purposefulness’. Priestley chooses to describe Goole is this manner to

make the audience and the characters i...

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...tion, Sheila and Eric, have

learnt that they should be more socially responsible. The opinions of

Mr and Mrs Birling towards socialists are very harsh, several times

they are identified as ‘socialist cranks’.

At the end of the play we are aware that the inspector was not a real

inspector. This leaves the audience to ponder on ideas of who he could

be. He may have been someone sent by God, hence how he describes hell

‘fire and blood and anguish’. Who was the inspector?

Priestley makes this play effective by leaving a cliff hanger at the

end of the play making the audience wonder who he was and where he

came from.

In conclusion the main role of the inspector was to be a catalyst, and

to lead the story in the right direction. His other aim was to present

Priestley’s views and make the characters feel remorseful.
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