He makes them speak when he wants them to, he makes them stay when he wants them to and makes the decision as to who will see the photographs and who won’t. ‘The Inspector interposes himself between them and the photograph’ The Inspector’s name Goole is onomatopoeic because it sounds like ‘ghoul’, a ghoul being a spirit which takes fresh life from corpses and we can definitely say that the Inspector’s existence is the result of the girl’s death.
This also gives him a mysterious and disturbing quality. As we find out in the end, the Inspector knew before hand that Eva Smith/Daisy Renton was going to commit suicide and he (the Inspector) was the only one who knew that her death hadn’t already taken place. So he must have been quite positive about her emotional distress, to actually be able to predict her death (i.e. tell them that Eva Smith/Daisy Renton had committed suicide).
‘…a young woman drank some disinfectant, and died, after several hours of agony…’ Throughout the play the Inspector proves that they are all linked to the death of Eva Smith (or Daisy Renton) and that they all are responsible for her death in one way or another. The Final speech delivered by the Inspector is exceedingly vital because he doesn’t mention anything to do with criminal, but he talks to them as well as the audience about social responsibility and the perils of ignoring it.
‘…their hopes and fears, their suffering and chance of happiness, all intertwined with our lives, and what we think say and do.’ The Inspector here is trying to emphasise on the fact that the there are a huge number of people like Eva Smith, who aren’t as fortunate as some of us and we are responsible for their happiness, sorrow, failures and gains. They have hopes which we should help them fulfil and as for the fears we should help them overcome it because ‘We don’t live alone.’ we are responsible for another. He also says that ‘what we think, say and do’ affects the lives of all the ‘Eva Smiths and John Smiths’ out there. The Inspector incessantly emphasizes on responsibility, which is a key theme in the play.
‘We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other’ Priestley has used the Inspector to put across his views as a socialist. In his final speech the Inspector is speaking to the Birlings as well as to the audience. He wants to teach us a lesson that we shouldn’t be selfish and should be aware of others around us and how we are affecting the lives of other individuals. As this play was set during the Second World War, Priestley would have witnessed the suffering and deaths of normal people during the Wars. The Inspector uses his last words as a warning to the audience that we shouldn’t repeat the selfish mistakes that led to the ‘fire and blood and anguish’ of the two World Wars.
The Inspector had been created to question the values held by the Birling family and Gerald. This gave us an insight as to what were the moral values of the upper-class before any historical catastrophes took place (i.e. sinking of the Titanic, World war one etc). It also showed us how narrowed minded and self-centred people can be and as a result dramatically affect the lives of others. J.B. Priestly left the story as a cliff hanger because I think he wanted us to realise the significance of the influence we have on others lives and to make us think about our moral values and social obligations. Moreover he employs the Inspector to make us understand that our selfish acts have consequences, not only on us but most importantly on others.