The play is set in 1914. In this time in Britain there were different classes of people, the rich and the poor. People were not treated as equal; the ones with more money were treated well and with respect, where as the poor got nothing. It was set right before the First World War broke out. Based on the time the play was set, my guess is that the Inspector was not off a high class. He could have been born into the working forces, and then become an Inspector because of his family.
So, he has grown up in the poor class but because he has become an Inspector the rich have to respect him and listen to what he is saying. This would explain why the Birlings were a bit weary with him and would not admit to him being right. It is like they resent him being in their home, ordering them about. They know that they are a higher class, but they can not do a thing about this and have to take the orders given to them.
The Inspector being from the poorer class would explain why he feels for Eva Smith/ Daisy Renton. She too was poor and helpless, and there was nothing else that she could do, to get her life in order so she had to commit suicide. The Inspector seems as if he knows exactly how she felt, and he feels for her. They are both from the poorer class, so he is explaining to the Birlings that just because they have less money does not make them any less of people and should be treated the same as anyone else. He is there for all the lower class, explaining that they do not want to be treated differently, everyone is equal no matter how much money you have.
The Inspector is a tall man, quite elderly, in his fifties. He creates an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness. He is dressed in a plain darkish suit of his period. The Inspector speaks carefully, weightily and has a habit of looking hard at the person he addresses before actually talking. For the set up of ‘Inspector Calls’ you would need to have the Inspector in the center of the stage, so all eyes can be on him, and you can see his every move and expression, as his role is most important. A spotlight on him would be quite effective, as your highlighting his character. Choosing the perfect actor for the role of the Inspector would be most important. The actor would need to be a clear, loud and stern speaker, with a good steady voice. An elderly man to give the right effect, which can create good expressions to fit each line.
Sudden music clips would be effective for some of the Inspectors important speeches. Also, having smoke come out when he exits and enters, so that it is as if he just appears and then just vanishes, this would be very effective for his role. I really enjoyed reading ‘The Inspector Calls’ I found it very interesting and enjoyable. I thought that the Inspector was a very mysterious and confusing character. He had very specific techniques to get out information, this was a good part of the play I thought it made it more interesting to read and it was not a boring way of asking questions.
My views on him is that he a generally nice man. I do not think that he came to the Birlings house to ruin their life and make them feel like terrible human beings. He just wanted to show them what they were doing to others and make them change their ways before matters got worse. He just wants to help them. I think that the Inspector was not just there to represent Eva Smith, it was for all poor people. Everyone that had ever been treated differently because of their class, the Inspector was speaking for them. My thoughts on who I think the Inspector is keep changing. I can not decide, there are so many different possibilities.
The main person I can think of is that he was an angel, not necessarily Eva Smith’s guardian angel, just an angel. The angel (inspector) is making the Birlings realize what they are doing to the poor, they are to obsess with money and class, and this is how they judge others. The Inspector is telling them this so that it does not happen again. He is protecting everyone, the Birlings included, and he is helping them. As we live in a society we all have to help each other; we all keep eachother breathing. The angel was trying to point this out to the Birlings. He says this in his speech ‘ we are all responsible for eachother’. We are all responsible for eachother and the angel (Inspector) was using this one happening to show them this.
There are so many different possibilities of who the Inspector could be; this is only one of my views. I think that is what makes the play so good, the ending is your decision. We decide what happens, who he is and how he changed the Birlings life style. I could write endlessly about who/ what the Inspector could be so I will end here. This was a great script and I would love too see it performed one day.