Also the Inspector gives away too much emotion through his speech, ‘(turning on him sharply) why should you do any protesting? ‘ and gives us an idea of who he really might be. Also this quote reveals some of his personality/characteristic, ‘… the young ones. They’re more impressionable’ here the Inspector shows the audience that because Sheila and Eric are of the younger generation they can change their ways i.e. they feel sorrow for the terrible life Eva has endured, Sheila says ‘.
. I know I’m to blame and I’m desperately sorry’. She is admitting to her mistake and so does Eric, ‘And I say the girl’s dead and we all helped to kill her and that’s what matters’, whereas the older generation, Mr & Mrs Birling have difficulty changing their ways as Birling says, ‘a man has to make his own way has to look after himself’.
Mr Birling shows how selfish he truly is and sees himself separate to society.
Sex and gender is important in society; the fact that Mr Birling says ‘a man has to make his own way’ suggests that Mr Birling may also sexist. Therefore the Inspector’s comments mean that there is hope for the future, but this lies within the younger generation which is one of the themes (young v old).
However if they do not change there will be consequences as the Inspector points out, ‘And I tell you that the time will soon come when, if men will not learn that lesson, when they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish’ this illustrates the inspector as a dramatic device creating fear in the audiences to reconsider whether their morals are correct.
He acts as a warning sign as two years after the play is set the Great War took place and more blood & anguish too place than ever before. Also the reference to ‘fire’ suggests hell and suffering.
The Inspector is used as a dramatic device by Priestley to represent his opinion on social class, ‘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 hopes and fears, their suffering and chances of happiness, all intertwined with our lives, and what we think and say and do’ this quote is a very important because it makes the reader realise the reality of the class divides as he use ‘millions’ repetitively showing the audience the true scale of lower-classes compared to the upper class minority having a larger impact than perceived.
Responsibility is also a theme of the play in which the inspector as a device encourages the Birlings to confess leaving the audience filled with socialist views. Inspector Goole not only represents the social class but also Eva Smith as an individual although she is now dead which is quite disturbing as it is as almost as if Eva Smith has come back from the dead, ‘A pretty, lively sort of girl, who never did anybody any harm.
But she died in misery and agony hating life’, the Inspector knows too much to just be a detective suggesting that he was either the voice of Eva, someone who knew her or a ghost, the appearance and also personality of the Inspector linking with different aspects of the play is used as a device to create guilt within the readers mind for the Birling’s, leaving the audience with sympathy for Eva Smith as he repeatedly states such comments as, ‘she lies with a burnt-out inside on a slab’ this places vivid images in the readers mind.
So to conclude the Inspector makes us fully aware of his attitude towards the characters in the play showing his true emotions and feelings, ‘(sharply) your daughter isn’t living on the moon. She’s here in Brumley too’. Also he uses more power and authority over the older generation, ‘Don’t stammer and yammer at me again man. I’m losing all patience with you’, whereas with the younger generation he is more considerate because they accept their mistakes, ‘she feels responsible’, here he is talking about Sheila regretting her actions.
He also reveals his attitude towards certain characters through change in tone of speech, ‘(harshly) Yes, she’s dead’. The Inspector is also used as a dramatic device by Priestley to portray his socialist outlook. ‘Public men, Mr Birling have responsibilities as well as privileges’, hinting that many capitalists misuse their status and need to get their responsibilities straight. He also represents Eva Smith, ‘A pretty, lively sort of girl, who never did anybody any harm. But she dies in misery and agony-hating life’ this shows the real extent of her misery.
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