Because Arthur is the boss of Birling and Company, he is supposed to be in charge of the family. However Sybil is in charge of domestic arrangements, these include reprimanding Eric, organising Edna et cetera. From their point of view, the younger generation are still basically “children” who are expected to follow dutifully in their parents’ footsteps. The older generation would be so stuck up in their pride and arrogance that they wouldn’t realise what they have done, until the Inspector came.
This is show by Sybil obsession with her social status during the play, e. g. she refused to believe that Eva/Daisy turned down Eric’s money because it was stolen, saying that a “girl of that sort” does not have “fine feelings and scruples”. However the younger generation are clearly affected by the Inspector’s manipulative methods. Mostly shown by Sheila for example; Sheila’s language changes during the play. At the start of the play Sheila uses simple, playful and quite childish language, e. g. “I’m sorry Daddy” and “oh-it’s wonderful! Look- Mummy isn’t it a beauty? Oh-darling”. Nevertheless at the end of the plat she’s confident and assertive- this is shown by her language as well.
She uses simple, plain and sometimes blunt English, just like the inspector actually Sheila becomes a bit like the Inspector herself. This could be because their mainly after the truth, Sheila’s honest. When she realises the effect that her actions had on someone else, she sees the error of her ways and tries, to accept responsibility for what she id. Therefore she uses some of the inspector’s techniques. She sees that he attacks their confidence by asking questions. She also sees that he attends to break down the wall which they have put between themselves and the girl.
Although Eric’s an Alcoholic who forced Eva smith into sleeping with him, he gets our sympathy when he sides with Sheila against their parents because he and she differ from their parents. Also we know from the play that Eric feels isolated and unsupported. He’s had a neglected childhood; this is mostly revealed when he shouts at his mom “You don’t understand anything. You never did. You never even tried”. Another point to make he sticks up for the workers, to conclude, the reason the audience forgives Eric is that the whole point of the play is about; recognizing your own mistake, taking responsibility for them, and learning from them.
And he and Sheila seem to do so. However, the generational conflict includes one more person; Gerald Croft. Gerald is the oldest young man around. Although he’s a young man is already old in his attitude. I believe he is as shallow as Arthur. He is like a younger version of Arthur. I also believe that Gerald’s is a depressing character, because he shows a side of society that will never change, whether they’re young or old, people like him will always be greedy and mean. The inspector’s final speech is a direct challenge to Mr. Birling’s “everyone has to look after themselves” speech at the start of the play.
However he never heard Birling’s speech. And he never met Eva/Daisy; shown by the quote-“I never met her”. He’s the all-knowing character in this play, not Birling as he seems to describe himself as the omniscient. For example in the beginning of the play; when he makes a speech about conflict, and how he believes the Titanic is unsinkable. However we know the Titanic did sink. This show’s he’s overconfident and a bit foolish. Another example is when Eric asks whether there’s going to be war with Germany, which Birling replies with a definite no.
But the audience knows that there was war with Germany twice; these being World War One and Two. But who is this Inspector and where did he come from? There are a lot of different interpretations. These including he could be a ghost, simply due to the fact that his last name is “Goole”, which sounds like “Ghoul”. Some people believe he is a paranormal force or maybe Eva smith/Daisy Renton’s spirit. He could also be someone holding a grudge against the Birling family and he considers this to be the perfect timing to confront them.
Others believe he could represent a religious figure, representing morality and moral stance. Even in some production he has been portrayed as the spirits of Eva’ unborn child. The point is, we don’t know. We’re as clueless as the Birlings are. As Sheila and Eric realise, the important thing is to understand that “we are responsible for each other”. Staging devices such as lighting, narration, dance sequences, sound effects and music usually intended to enhance the central message or to create the desired mood and atmosphere.
In An Inspector Calls, Inspector Goole’s role is important to the play’s message of responsibility. However it would be unfair to ‘just’ to call him a staging device. To conclude, I believe Inspector Goole is a staging device but he exceeds beyond the expectations required from a staging device. Inspector Goole corners his victim’s with stern question which enhances tension.