GCSE/IGCSE Notes > English Literature > Inspector Goole - An Inspector Calls
On this page:
On this page:
- Inspector Goole - Character Notes
- Priestley's Message (intended affect on the audience)
- Inspector Goole - Character Development/changes
- Inspector Goole - Key Quotes Bank (in two parts)
1/4: Inspector Goole - Character Notes
The Inspector is in his fifties, dressed in a plain dark suit. He initially seems to be an ordinary Brumley police inspector, but (as his name suggests) comes to seem something more ominous, perhaps even supernatural. J. B. Priestly writes The Inspector "need not be a big man, but he creates at once an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness." The precise nature of his character is left ambiguous by Priestly, and it can be interpreted in various ways.
The Inspector knows is aware that Sheila feels guilty, and had underlined that before she realised, and lets her feel guilty and admit she cannot bare to be responsible for the girl's death. She is struck by the truth of what the Inspector says, showing that he is a powerful, manipulative and interesting character.
Priestley describes him as speaking "carefully, weightily ... and [he] has a disconcerting habit of looking hard at the person he addresses before he speaks."
Inspector Goole questions the Birlings (Mr Birling , Mrs Birling , Eric Birling, Sheila Birling) and Gerald Croft.
2/4: Priestley's Message (intended affect on the audience)
- He is Priestley’s voice – he represents Priestley's strong moral views. His job is to make the characters change their attitudes, face up to what they have done and start taking responsibility for each other – see his final message in the play.
- He heightens drama – his entrances and exits are well timed in order to create maximum tension (e.g. at the end of Act 1 when he walks in on Gerald and Sheila’s conversation).
- He controls the structure of the play – each revelation moves the play one step forward.
3/4: Inspector Goole's Character Development/changes
Inspector Goole's character doesn't change. He always remains assertive throughout the play. However, he seems to gain more control over the characters as the play progresses.
4/4: Inspector Goole: Quote Bank (Analysis)
Scroll down for a list of his quotes. Or read ahead for (very!) important quote analysis.
4/4: Inspector Goole: Key Quotes Bank
- “Need not be a big man but 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. He speaks carefully, weightily and has a disconcerting habit of looking hard at the person he addresses before actually speaking”
- “Two hours ago a young woman died in the Infirmary. She’d been taken there this afternoon because she’d swallowed a lot of strong disinfectant. Burnt her inside out, of course”
- “A chain of events” lead to Eva Smith's suicide.
- “...It’s better to ask for the Earth than to take it”
- “...It would do us all a bit of good if sometimes we tried to put ourselves in the place of these young women counting their pennies in their dingy little back bedroom”
- (To Gerald) “And you think young women ought to be protected against unpleasant and disturbing things?”
- “A girl died tonight. A pretty, lively sort of girl, who never did anybody any harm. But she died in misery and agony- hating life-”
- “If there’s nothing else we have to share our guilt”
- “Public men, Mr Birling, have responsibilities as well as privileges”
- “You’ve had children. You must have known what she was feeling. And you slammed the door in her face”
- “And be quiet for a moment and listen to me. I don’t need to know any more. Neither do you. This girl killed herself- and died a horrible death. But each of you helped to kill her. Remember that. Never forget it. (He looks from one to the other of them carefully) But then I don’t think you ever will. Remember what you did”
- “But remember this. One Eva Smith has gone- but there are millions and millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with us, with their lives, their hopes and fears, their suffering and chance of happiness, all intertwined with our lives, and what we think and say and do. We don’t live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will soon come when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish. Good night.”