The following sample essay on “The Inspector Has Come by John Priestley” deals with the overconfidence of the main characters. A detailed discussion includes the pros and cons associated with this.
He doesn’t realise that his little pink light of family happiness is about to be stepped on and soon destroyed. Before Birling’s speech ended he was interrupted with a sharp ring of the front door bell. At this stage little do the audience know is, that this man is about to change their lives.
With a sharp ring he has timed his entrance correctly and so far he is successful and next he is to teach them all a lesson, a lesson they shall never forget.
Before the inspector says a word, Priestley includes a really important stage direction about him. The stage directions are absolutely essential, not only in this play but in every play. A stage direction is important as every direction directs the character and creates a personality and what actions to proceed with.
They give every character guidance and how the play is set up.
The stage directions give the actor more insight into the character they’re playing and how to portray them to the audience. During this specific stage direction we are told, “The inspector needs not to be a big man but he creates at once an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness.” Priestley includes this to tell us about the inspector’s personality, temper and attitude. It tells us that the character will constantly be taking charge and will be determined to do anything to receive any information necessary.
Soon after, Edna introduces the inspector and explains that his name is Inspector Goole. Priestley’s technique of using this name signifies to us that Goole sounds like “Ghoul” a spirit who has a morbid interest in death, a spirit that is said to take fresh life from corpse. It’s like this characters existence is due to Eva Smith’s death. Priestley also makes us explore even deeper into the situation. Goole is also a small fishing town and this suggests that he is about to fish for information and take as long as it needs which we soon recognise in his methodical line of inquiry.
Throughout this stage direction Priestley says, “The inspector need not be a big man but he creates an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness.” These words states that the inspector grows and remains solid while each of the other characters breaks down as he is becoming more successful. These words tell us that the inspector is here to act as a conscience and take no nonsense and constantly keep taking charge of the conversation. These words give an impression of someone who is both an outsider and omniscient. This makes him appear more mysterious and powerful.
Priestley also gives the inspector the ability to unnerve people before he speaks. The inspector makes things happen and allows secrets to be revealed. He controls everyone and their actions. Before he speaks he strongly looks at his victim, letting them know that he is here for a reason and he will break anything that they maybe trying to build. Priestley gives the inspector the power to fish out anything that is required. The stares of his eyes, lets the other characters know that this isn’t a man to be contradicted. By the stare of his eyes he lets them know that he will eventually get what he wants.
I shall now focus on how the inspector has the ability to interrogate each of his suspects and how he has a methodical way of questioning each of the characters and how he has the ability to receive any information he requires from them by using his economical choice of words. Although I have insignificant time to concentrate on all five characters, but however I shall concentrate in two in detail, which are Mrs Birling and Shelia. He interrogates them one by one in order to complete his mission and stop confusion. The first character I will focus on will be Mrs Birling.
As she enters the room she enters “briskly and self-confidently,” as if she is not going to be broken down. But as she is shown the picture of the girl the inspector straight away realises that the picture has been recognised. “It’s an organisation to which women in distress can appeal for help in various forms. Isn’t that so?” At this particular point there was no wealth fare state and so people turned to charities and organisations for help.
This is one of the questions that begin to break down Mrs Birling, which she fails to realise. Priestley is getting his own political views across and criticising the government for failing to provide for the less fortunate members of society. Afterwards the inspector asks questions that begin to frustrate and put Mrs Birling under pressure so from this he receives the information by his economical use of questions. As time moves forwards the inspector keeps his victim’s case under control and massively takes charge as he is constantly being interrupted which tells this family that they will all gain the equal amount of respect no matter who the characters are.
At Eva Smith’s death we get a glimpse at society at the time through each of the characters. Through the inspector and as Mrs Birling is one of his suspects he is attempting to show his attitude towards human morality and responsibility. He is teaching the audience an important point about society and the different generation’s attitude towards it. Priestley wanted to express the fact that everybody has a responsibility but some don’t face up to it as shown through Mrs Birling.
As the inspector, Priestley was trying to show the differences between the older generation and the younger generation. Through Mrs Birling he tells us how she thinks she is more superior to others, “a girl of that class,” “she only had herself to blame.” These quotes tell us that Priestley is highlighting that the more superior look down on people as worthless and nothing better to do, and they don’t take responsibility for their actions upon others.
Priestley uses the technique of cliff-hangers at the end of each scene in order to keep the audience engrossed and full of tension and suspense. At the end of each scene the audience are sitting at the edge of their seats waiting for the curtains to reopen to find out whether or not if the inspector is successful in breaking the faï¿½ade between him and this family and find out if they will face up to their responsibilities.