English Literature: An Inspector Calls Character Profile - The Inspector

Quote to support the view the inspector is Moral.
"We don't live alone. We are members of one body"
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Quote to support the view the inspector is authoritative
"All in good time"
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Quote to support the view the inspector is mysterious
"Was it a hoax?"
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Quote to support the view the inspector is an outsider
"The rude way he spoke to Mr Birling and me - it was quite extraordinary"
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How does the inspector arrive? What does he say?
Unexpectedly. He's just here to ask some questions.
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How is the inspector an outsider?
He doesn't seem to have much in common with the Birlings.
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How is the inspector authoritative and imposing?
He's not a big man - but his presence fills the room.
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What is the Inspector's leaving speech about? What happens to the older characters opinions on his speech once Gerald finds out the Inspector is probably a fake?
Social Responsibility, and they forget about the speech and try to avoid the blame.
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How is the Inspector the Driving Force of the Play? (three points.)
He starts it off with a summary of afternoons events "suicide of course" He forces more info out of people by bluntly saying what other characters try to skirt around and he also reveals new info, which heightens drama.
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Give an example of the inspector forcing more information out of people by bluntly saying what the other characters are trying to skirt around.
When Gerald's describing how he met Daisy Renton, the Inspector asks "And then you decided to keep her - as your mistress?" But it's not really a question. This forces Gerald to admit the truth.
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Give an example of the Inspector revealing new information which heightens the drama.
When he drops it into the conversation "that this girl was going to have a child"
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What is the significance of the world "calls"
It's very casual - as if he's just dropping in. It is also a deceptive word to use about the Inspector. He may appear casual and spontaneous but in fact he's single minded and calculating. If anything he "calls" the shots.
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Who else "calls" the Birling household?
Another Inspector on the telephone at the end of the play.
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At what two times are the title of the play echoed throughout?
In Edna's words as she announces the arrival of Inspector Goole at the start of the play and in the telephone call at the end of the play.
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How does Priestly make the Inspector's language?
Forceful and to the point, which forces the other characters to answer him.
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What technique does Priestly use on the Inspector's language?
Emotive language - which stirs the situation up in the house.
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How does the Inspector describe Eva? What effect does this?
"Pretty" "Lively" These are attractive words which make the audience more sympathetic towards her.
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How is the sympathy for Eva strengthened? What quote supports this?
Strengthened by the harsh tone used to describe her death. He says she's now lying "with a burnt-out inside on a slab"
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What is Sheila's response to the Inspector's language?
She is "rather distressed" by the Inspector's language and says that she "can't help thinking about this girl - destroying herself"
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Give examples and quotes of the Inspector being blunt.
"You're not even sorry now, when you know what happened" and is prepared to ask personal questions - e.g. he asks Gerald "Were you in love with her?"
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When does the inspector use his own questions? Give an example.
If he's not happy with someone's answer. E.g. when Sybil refuses to admit there was a committee meeting he says "you know very well there was, Mrs Birling"
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When does the Inspector stop following up his questions with more questions?
When he has pieced together a confession E.g. When Sybil won't say she convinced the committee to reject Eva's appeal he asks "Was it or was it not your influence?"
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Why is the Inspectors entering timing crucial?
Priestly has the inspector ring the bell just as Arthur Birling says "a man has to mind his own business" It's as if Birling's announcement summons the inspector to prove the exact opposite.
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How is the Inspectors small exit in the middle of the interrogation a clever tactic?
Leaving Sheila and Gerald alone lets Sheila interrogate Gerald and allows the time for suspicion to break them apart. This makes it easier to get Gerald to confess when the Inspector returns.
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What does the gradual build up of drama in the Inspector's language do?
Builds on the tension and emotion of the final scene. He claims that if the Birlings don't learn their lesson, they will be taught in "fire, blood and anguish"
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What effect does the silence after the Inspectors exit have on the audience/characters on stage?
They are left "staring, subdued and wondering"
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What 'cliffhanger' is the play left on?
The audience don't know who or what the Inspector is.
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Describe the writer's technique on using the Inspectors last name as Goole.
Sounds like Ghoul - word used for ghost.
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Why does the Inspector have so much knowledge and power?
It's never properly explained. He could be a ghost or he could represent the spirit of a religious or moral figure - just like in Medieval morality plays.
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What significance does the Inspector claiming he found "a rough sort of diary" kept by Eva have?
Eva's identity isn't certain, and the audience isn't sure she ever existed, so the diary might be a neat bluff to stop anyone asking the Inspector questions.
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What group does The Inspector represent? Why?
The police and the courts, he's tracking down the truth, like in a murder mystery.
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What do Mr and Mrs Birling think The Inspector doesn't have the right to do? Why?
They don't think he has the authority to tell them off because he's not a police officer.
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What do Eric and Sheila realise that the other characters do not?
That the Inspector's moral judgement is just as important as his legal power.
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What/Who does The Inspector have the attitude and knowledge of?
Attitude of a philosopher and social commentator - knowledge of a spooky ghost delivering a prophesy.
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How might the Inspectors voice change as the play progresses?
His voice might get louder and louder.
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How does Inspector Goole create an unsettling presence? What can he do?
It might be down to his confidence - he knows how to create an air or uncertainty and reel everyone in.
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Who is in charge in the play?
The Inspector - he makes sure everyone is aware of this. He takes control and leads the events. They're confused but Goole never is.
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What does his authority make others do?
Take him more seriously and makes everything he says sound more important.
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What connotation does the Inspector "massively" interrupting have? Give an example.
He cuts into dialogue "with authority" e.g when he tells Birling that Eric can "wait his turn."
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What is the play (and Priestley's) strong message? Who delivers this message?
Looking after one another, and it's the Inspector's job to deliver it.
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When are Priestley's own view most prominent in the play?
During the Inspector's speech. The Inspector is speaking to the Birling family, but it could also be Priestley's speech direct to the play's audience.
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Does the Inspector take a neutral position?
No, he's on Eva/Daisy's side, and he tells the Birlings what he thinks of them.
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Which character reflects Priestley's own views?
The Inspector's opinions. The Inspector is almost Priestley's 'mouthpiece' - Priestley's voice in the play.
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How is the Inspector an outsider?
He stands outside the class system of the Birlings' social world - he is an outsider in the play.
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Talk about the theme - social class.
Priestley has set the play in the Birlings' dining room. In 1912 only well-off households would have had a dining room - this makes it a symbol of the middle-class lifestyle.
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What does the Inspector mean "We are members of one body"
Classes shouldn't ignore each others needs.
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How is the Inspector different from the other members in the Birling family?
He doesn't recognise any of their ideas about class. He treats everyone the same.
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How is the Inspector 'classless'?
He seems to come from outside the class system that the Birlings live in.
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What does etiquette mean?
Normal rules of social behaviour.
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How is it clear that the Inspector doesn't share Arthur Birling's interests and values.
Goole doesn't play golf&not impressed by Mr Bs public profile as former Alderman&Lord Mayor. Talks about taboo subjects-sex&politics.He interrupts,repeats&pauses in ways which weren't the norm in middleclass prewar england.He doesn't follow etiquette
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


Quote to support the view the inspector is authoritative


"All in good time"

Card 3


Quote to support the view the inspector is mysterious


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


Quote to support the view the inspector is an outsider


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


How does the inspector arrive? What does he say?


Preview of the front of card 5
View more cards


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