The Function of the Inspector in J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls
The play 'An Inspector Calls' was set in 1912 in an industrial city in
the North Midlands. In the play Arthur Birling, a prosperous
manufacturer, is holding a dinner party to celebrate the engagement of
his daughter Sheila to Gerald Croft. Arthur Birling is naive about
things like war and he doesn't believe in community and is very
selfish. He only cares about himself and his family, and seems to
think that he can abuse people who are of a lower class than himself.
The party is interrupted when a police inspector, Inspector Goole,
turns up to question members of the family about the ...view middle of the document...
The inspector shows Sheila the photograph and
she recognizes the person and starts crying and she runs out of the
Sheila admits that it was her who complained about the woman and lost
her the job. She said the girl upset her because she had been trying
on a dress and everyone had said it wouldn't suit her and when she had
the dress on the girl smiled at the other assistant as if to say
'Doesn't she look awful?'. And then she held up the dress to her and
Sheila knew the girl would look better in the dress than she did.
The role of the inspector at this point of the play is to make Sheila
feel wrong about complaining about the girl and losing her job. She
complained for a selfish superficial reason. Sheila could not handle
that the girl was more attractive than her and she was paranoid that
she was talking about her appearance to another assistant in the shop.
The inspector tells the members of the family that the woman next
changed her name to Daisy Renton. Gerald Croft obviously recognises
the name but tries to deny it.
This is because he had been having a relationship with the girl behind
Sheila's back. He had met the girl, who had then changed her name to
Daisy Renton, in the bar of the PalaceMusic Hallin Brumley. He saw the
girl wedged into a corner by a 'half-drunk and goggle-eyed' Joe
Meggarty. He saw the girl looked uneasy so he made excuses to get rid
of Joe Meggarty, and he took the woman to the County Hotel for a quiet
They talked and Gerald found out that the girl was penniless and that
she was about to be turned out of the miserable back room she was
living in. He took pity on her and gave her some money and let her
stay in some rooms that Gerald was looking after for his friend,
Charlie Brumswick, who had gone off to Canada. Daisy Rentonwas very
grateful for the help Gerald gave her and the two started to make love
on occasions, and Gerald made excuses to Sheila that he had been very
busy at the works at that time.
At this point of the play the inspector reveals a big secret. He lets
out that Gerald was unfaithful to Sheila. He gets Gerald to reveal
more as he feels he needs to justify everything and explain to Sheila.
He is very manipulative and uses what little knowledge he has about
the affair to try and make Gerald think he knows every detail, so he
feels that there is no point in denying things as he is under the
impression the inspector knows everything any way. He also needs to
clear his conscience with his bride to be, Sheila.
The inspector then shows Mrs Birling the photograph. She denies that
she has seen the woman before in her life but then admits that two
weeks previously at the Brumley Women's Charity Organization in which
she is a prominent member of.
The woman had appealed to the organization for help under the name...