John Boynton Priestley wrote the play, ? An Inspector Calls? in 1941 when the Second World War was being fought. The play involves a supernatural person, who claims to be an Inspector, arriving with the news of a suicide. A young girl has taken her life, due to a series of problems that occurred in her last year or so and everyone in the house at that time is somehow connected with her death, although the audience is unaware of that at first. The involvement of the individual members of the family gradually unfolds until Priestley succeeds in building up a picture of middle-class society as grasping, selfish and almost entirely without any sense of moral responsibility.
Inspector Goole enters the play in an ironic way. He comes just after Mr Birling, a hard-working business man says, ?a man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own?? Mr Birling isn?t aware of what the Inspector is about to tell him and his family.
The Inspector is a figure of inner strength and moral authority. For instance, when he enters the Birlings? living room, Mr Birling offers him a drink and he refuses. The stage directions in the book describe his manner well. For example, as he enters, the directions state; ?The Inspector need not be a big man but he creates at once an impression of massiveness, solidarity and purposefulness.? There are also other parts where the directions describe him as, ?cutting in?, ?taking charge?, or speaking ?very sternly?, ?gravely?, or ?harshly?. These directions imply a man who is making judgements on what he regards as the moral lassitude of the Birlings.
Inspector Goole has a shrewd technique of saying little while the characters implicate themselves. Sheila says to her mother at one point,