Lastly and most dramatic is Eric Birling. He has been sympathetic since the first hearing of the tragic suicide. But why? He met Eva Smith at the Palace Bar. Spoke, took her home and slept with her on more than one occasion. Consequently the girl became pregnant. Eric began to give Eva Smith money so that she could have some quality of life. Soon she refused, as she understood it was stolen. Eric becomes rather quite depressed. He feels responsible for her death. He includes others for this victim’s pain. ‘We did her in all right’.
After questioning all the characters become quite unrelaxed and guilty until Gerald Croft discovers that Inspector Goole is a fraud. Tension begins to settle and Mr and Mrs Birling become quite relaxed and humorous. Gerald admitting to an affair hurts Sheila. Eric still believes the girl’s death is his fault. The infirmary is called and tension settles further when they find out no such suicide had occurred. I think part of Priestley’s message here is that faithfulness in family and relationship is vital. It’s amazing what an imposer who is a fraud can unravel and then make a family and couple fall apart.
Be honest and pray for forgiveness when you sin. Or in the perfect world don’t sin. But we don’t belong in a perfect world so you have to have some expectations of bad events and just gradually learn how to deal with them and hopefully make the right decision for yourself. The inspector is a man that could be described as omniscient. It’s discovered that he is a fake inspector, so what was his purpose? He could represent a ghoul by name of goole as someone who has a morbid interest in death, a spirit who takes fresh life from corpses. His existence is as a result of the girl’s death.
Goole is also a seaport town and might suggest he has gone to ‘fish’ for information. The inspector is very important. He acts somewhat like a catalyst. He makes things happen and allows secrets to be revealed. He controls everyone and their actions despite the prosperity of Mr Birling and everyone else. He views people as being responsible for their actions and how they affect others. He appears just as Birling is saying that everyone must look after himself or herself, which is rather quite significant. In many ways the inspector acts as a representation of Priestley’s strong moral views.
He puts across massiveness, solidarity and purposefulness. The inspector is a vital character required in order to achieve a great deal of tension. The story is quite interesting in how it is told because of its structure. The immediate beginning is very cheerful, everyone is relatively merry and in the mood for celebration. Tension mounts when the inspector arrives. The inspectors presence creates a massive impact on the Birling family and Gerald Croft. When he finally retires for the evening tension begins to decrease until you reach the end of the play. The end of the play is almost identical to the beginning.
In both sections a message is received about a girl committing suicide. The play acts like a loop. The stage directions are essential in order to create and interesting play. Due to the setting, body language and tones of voice are used to express what is happening. Entrances and exits seem to play a big part in build up and relieving of tension. The entrance of Inspector Goole causes crisis. The exit of Eric Birling is a worry to the family because they do not know his capabilities. The general theme is family crisis and how a single action can have such a large consequence or consequences.
The 1940s audience and the generations of today would find this play interesting because of the amount of dramatic irony that is included in the script. For example: 1912: -the Titanic-she sets sail next week-forty-six thousand eight hundred tonnes-New York in five days-and every luxury-and unsinkable-absolutely unsinkable. Many situations arise in this play when a character speaks lines that are understood in a double sense only by the audience. J. B. Priestley makes spectacular use of dramatic irony in the play, particularly through Birlings first major speeches.
The play was set in 1912 before First World War, Titanic, the Russian Revolution and the Wall Street crash. First audiences would have viewed following the Second World War. In my opinion, An Inspector Calls is such a successful play because of the dramatic irony content and the amount of tension that a single character can build up. Finally the loop of the play at the end. In some ways you are left on a cliff-hanger, you may have ideas as to what happens next because of previous context but you are left wondering . A very skilful piece of drama by J. B. Priestley. I really enjoyed the structure and dramatic irony of the play.