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The Role of Inspector Goole in An Inspector Calls Essay

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The Role of Inspector Goole in An Inspector Calls

In the work, An Inspector Calls, Inspector Goole role has been a described as a staging device. Yet, defining Inspector Goole as meerly a staging device implies that he is not a character in his own right but exists simply as a way of exploring the personalities and lives of other, more fully rounded, characters. While it is true that An Inspector Calls would not work without Inspector Goole's central role, it reduces him a little to refer to him as 'just' a staging device. In order to understand the full significance of Inspector Goole, it is worth exploring how his primary role works and then looking at what further significance JB Priestly attaches to him.
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Yes, yes. Horrible business. But I don't understand why you should come here, Inspector.

Neither does the audience at first, but Goole's slow unravelling of the connections between Eva Smith and every member of the Birling household forms the central fascinating strand of the plot.

The shape of his investigation is dictated by the needs of the audience rather than strict police procedure. His questions to each member of the family re-tell the events of the final part of Eva Smith's life in chronological order, whereas a more naturalistic approach would have been to start with the events immediately leading up to the suicide and work backwards from there. Goole's statement about his methods could just as easily be about the demands of the drama itself

It's the way I like to go to work. One person and one line of inquiry at a time. Otherwise there's a muddle.

The chronological approach is also echoed by deepening moral lapses on the part of the Birling household. Birling himself commits the mild sin of greed when he has a disruptive union organiser sacked. Sheila is guilty of little more than a fit of pique when she has the same girl dismissed from her job in a shop. Gerald and Eric both commit fornication, but Eric compounds his sin with drunkenness, theft and getting Eva (now known as Daisy Renton) pregnant. Mrs Birling adds hypocrisy to her lack of Christian charity when
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