The inspector is in permanent control of the play, you get the feeling that he already knows all of the answers, he just wants the characters to confess to themselves. The timing of the inspector’s entrance demonstrates the way he knows everything and how his purpose in the play is to prove wrong Birling. “A man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own – and – (we hear the sharp ring of a front door bell ). Right in the middle of Birling’s speech about looking after yourself and ignoring the rest of the world.
The inspector works the characters into confessing, “Both Eric and Gerald rise to have a look at the photograph, but the inspector interposes himself between them and the photograph” he controls what each character knows and sees and that way he could be talking about different girls but the Birlings have no solid evidence. From the first stage directions after the inspector enters we find out about the inspectors physical appearance. “He creates at once an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness. He is a man in his fifties, dressed in a plain darkish suit of the period.
This description tells us that the inspector projects a sort of aura, which causes the characters to cooperate with him. In the inspector’s final speech his beliefs and morals are best described. “We don’t live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. ” This is the exact opposite to Mr. Birling’s speech at the beginning of the play and demonstrates how wrong Mr. Birling was. Inspector Goole’s purpose in the play is to set the Birlings back on track, they are selfish and snobbish and these traits have led to a girls death.
He is to the Birlings as the three ghosts were to Scrooge. In Goole’s last speech he says that if man doesn’t learn this lesson “They will be taught in fire and blood and anguish. ” This play was written after WW2 but set before WW1 and so Priestley was probably talking about the forthcoming war which he believed was caused by selfish, self-centred attitudes. After the inspector leaves we find out how he effected the characters. I think the inspector had the desired effect on Shelia, “IT was my fault really that she was so desperate when you first met her.
If anything I think that Shelia has taken too much of the blame upon herself. Mr Birling doesn’t take any responsibility for Eva Smith’s death, (to Eric) “You’re the one I blame for this. ” To escape the blame Mr Birling scapegoats his own son. Mrs Birling also tries to scapegoat her son, “I’m absolutely ashamed of you. ” (to Eric). Eric didn’t do as much wrong as other characters but for what he has done he takes no guilt, Shelia: “Between us we drove that girl to commit suicide. ” Gerald: “Did we? Who says so?
Because I say- there’s no more real evidence we did than there was that that chap was a police officer. ” Gerald thinks that if Goole wasn’t a real police inspector then nothing counts. The inspector does not seem like any other policeman, he seems way to confident and he seems to already know all of the answers before he asks the questions. “We hardly told him anything he didn’t already know. ” The inspector arrives just as Birling is discussing how the world is every man for himself and socialism is nonsense.
The timing of the inspector’s entrance may just be a dramatic thing to prove a point in the play but it could be a hint that the inspector is more than just a policeman. Mr, Birling refers to inspector Goole as a “socialist crank”, by this he means someone who doesn’t believe in his views of an everyone for themselves world. The inspector is definitely socialist, this is clear fro his final speech but he is probably not a “crank”. The inspector is referred to as larger than life, I think he certainly isn’t normal and that he conceals a lot.
Where Goole got his information is another question, he couldn’t get all of that information just from a diary, the inspector had morals and philosophies and that isn’t like a police officer. The way in which he makes the characters confess to their crimes could also be counted as a supernatural power. Inspector Goole definitely isn’t normal but what is is isn’t sure, the way he tries to guide the Birlings into good and socialism could, this could possibly make him an angel.