An Inspector Calls

Who was the Inspector?

Obviously, I know he is a socialist and perhaps a ghoul as his name suggests (from Goole) - but who was he?

I got the impression that his 'duty' was to warn the Birling's. This is because he earlier cautions them about their ignorance and says they will be met with fire, blood, and anguish (which I will simply refer to as death). The entire play is, perhaps, a 'simulation'. A simulation where events described by the Inspector play out if the Birling's don't change their attitudes and behaviours. From watching the BBC 2015 adaptation, I was more convinced that the Inspector was of supernatural origin. When Eva Smith, or whoever you like to call her, looked out of the window of her bedroom she could not see the Inspector - yet, he can see her. Similarly, the same thing occurs again - in the infirmary. If he were a ghoul, who was all-knowing, why did he choose to target the Birlings? Also, if Eva Smith's death had not yet ocurred (we know it hadn't from Gerald's call to the infirmary), and the Birlings 'changed their ways' as such, Eva Smith's death still would have taken place. In which case, when, right at the end of the play, we see that a girl has died as a result of suicide at the infirmary, how would an ordinary, Metropolitan Police inspector know to visit the Birlings and question them? How would he know what to ask them? How would he have gotten evidence so quickly after the death? It makes sense that the 'Inspector' could have used Eva's diary and a photograph to perform his hoax, and so why other, than being a ghoul, would this being have pretended to be a police inspector. Perhaps the infirmary thought it suspicous that the Birlings called before the death, but is it really hard enough evidence to send a police inspector round to a respectable family of society and question them? If the Inspector were not a ghoul, and really was a police inspector, why didn't he follow procedure - the procedure he appeared to follow upon arrival at the Birling residence. Any response is appreciated - I am just not sure what to think of the ending. I would also love to hear any other speculations over the ending of the play that anybody has. Finally, if you haven't yet watched the BBC's 2015 adaptation of An Inspector Calls, I strongly reccomend it. Thanks in advance!

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You have a lot of insight here. Unfortunately this is only a short answer forum space. I can't give you the detailed response you are asking for.

Any help at all is greatly appreciated - no matter how short.

Anyone else got any information?

Aslan, could you perhaps enlighten me with a little information then, please?

Or anyone else?? Please, I need this information for an assesment.

I personally think that the inspector may be a ghost who was Priestley's mouthpiece and if he was a real inspector he wouldn't be that intimidating because if he was the normal police inspector he would have been respectful to the Birlings considering the class that they had and furthermore if Goole was a real inspector when he heard the name Gerald Croft as Mr. Birling had said that he was well-known person thanks to his father's business he would have been more polite. I think Goole came to the Birlings to show them the right way to behave and since they didn't do what the inspector had said they received a phone call at the end of the play and Goole would have come to bring justice to Eva/Daisy Renton that's what I think hope it helped.

i just know that inspector was came from future. and i also know that the "goole" name came from ghost. i think you need to watch the movie then you can find the answer. because when i saw the movie it was like in the last, mr.birling and all people knows that "goole" inspector not was the real inspector. ( in the play was same). and they know in the call that inspector own his way he coming in mr.brilings house.( in the play was same). in the movie the calls before when they knows that 'goole' inspector was not the real inspector after , the inspector was seen eva smith in her house , see her she writing in her dairy. when she came out of her house she going to sucide. then inspector goes to house and read the whole dairy ( eva smith). when he finish the reading. he quickly running and try to save eva smith, insopector takes to hospital her but she can't then the inspector call mr.briling and he said that inspector own his way, he coming mr.birling house. ( sorry for y bad english)



Goole is the angel of death. I wasn't quite sure until the scene when Eva actually sees him as they are attempting to pump her stomach. At that point, you see him looking as though he wants to help but all he can do is look on helplessly and he looks defeated and as though he wants to cry. She sees him for the first time as she is dying, even though he was close to her numerous times leading up to her drinking the cleanser. When he warned the family as he was leaving, Goole was prophesying as to the end times. Humans would learn compassion of their own volition, or they would be forced into submission by fire, blood and anguish for their apathy. Some of Jesus' last words on earth was to love one another as He loved us. Goole was just doing what he was sent to do, yet it broke his heart. Not only her senseless death, but the fact that she tried numerous times to seek help from the very family that led to her hopelessness, only to be used and cast aside. This is a very well written play and the 2015 adaptation is very memorable. I hope my take on this helps, however late I might be to the duscussion.

The Inspector was actually "Death". He set the Birling's up in order to come and collect them later, either that night or later in life...

When watching the BBC film adaption, it suggested him to be supernatural. However I also thought he could know Eva, and she may have asked him to make the Birlings to confess. When he had made them regret their actions, he should let Eva know by standing outside her window- then she would know it was time to kill herself. However, the fact that she cannot see him doesn't fit with this theory. Overall, I believe there is the most evidence for the theory that he personifies death or that he is of supernatural origins. It is obvious that the writer has left Goole's origins unclear on purose.

Personally, I believe that if we put the idea that it's a play that was created for a purpose, I think the Inspector represents JB Priestley himself. Allow me to elaborate.

It's often believed that JB Priestley used the Inspector as a mouthpiece for his own socialist views, which means he intended to use the Inspector as a construct for his intentions that he wanted to convey to his 1945 upper class audience.

JB Priestley could have essentially put himself in the play, as his own character, he is an omniscient, transcendent being who appears to be able to "tell the future". If we put this idea into the play, he warns the Birling family about being taught that lesson in "fire and blood and anguish" which, on one hand, could reference hell in religious terms, but it could also represent the world wars, as the play is set in 1912.

As the classes mixed together during the war due to them having to fight alongside each other, society essentially learnt that they should value each other and treat every class the same the hard way; within the harsh realities of war.

The idea of the inspector being a being who could tell the future is supported by these facts.