Through the presentation of the character Inspector Goole, how does the audience realise that ‘An Inspector Calls’ by J. B Priestly is a twentieth century morality play? An inspector calls is a play written in the twentieth century, although it is set in 1912. The purpose of the play is to make the reader realise how much of an impact you have on an individuals life and how easy it is to judge another person based on class and status alone. An Inspector Calls is a morality play and has certain traits which show this. It is a play set to try and test the conscience of a group of people but also to get a message across about society as a whole.
I aim to talk about how the writer did this and the methods and means he used. The Inspector Goole, who plays the leading role, is described as ‘need not be a big man but he creates an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness’. ‘He is a man of his fifties, dressed in a plain darkish suit of the period. He speaks carefully, weightily and has a disconcerting habit of looking hard at the person he addresses before actually speaking’ this description gives an impression of an alpha dominant male typical of an Inspector.
Before the Inspector enters the lighting is pink and intimate reflecting the mood which is joyful as there has been a celebration, however when the Inspector enters the lighting terns brighter and harder, giving an impression that he’s here to throw light on the situation. When the Inspector interviews one of the family, he’ll ask a question which triggers emotions for the character and then he waits for them to talk. This method exposes their more venerable side, for example the inspector mentions Eva Smith he gets an immediate and obvious response from Eric.
To each ‘line of enquiry’ the Inspector showed one person one photograph, except to Gerrold as he recognised the name strait away. The fact that the Inspector insisted only the person he was interviewing should see the photo raised suspicions within the audience of whether or not it was the same photo. Throughout the play the inspector seems to present the evidence in more of a moral and philosophical way then a civic legal way mentioning the way the girl died several times to conjure emotions. ‘That’s more or less what I was thinking in the infirmary looking at what was left of Eva Smith.
A nice little promising life there, I thought and a nasty mess someone’s made of it. ‘ Within the play the characters reactions reflect there value’s and morals as it is clear that Mr Birling has his job and place among the community at steak which is what matters to him the most. Sheila Birling however is more concerned for the girl as she may be able to relate and upon discovering she may have been partly responsible shows obvious signs of guilt and concern. ‘I’ve told my father – he didn’t think it amounted to much- but I felt rotten about it at the time and now I feel a lot worse. Did it make much difference to her? ‘