Exploring Responsibility in "An Inspector Calls"

Essay details

Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.

Table of Contents

  • Inspector Goole's Probing
  • Individual Actions and Consequences
  • Consequences and Accountability
  • Collective Responsibility and Social Critique
  • Inspector Goole's Message
  • Conclusion

"An Inspector Calls" by J.B. Priestley is a play that delves into the intricate theme of responsibility and its far-reaching implications. Throughout the narrative, the concept of responsibility is artfully depicted through the characters' interactions, moral dilemmas, and the overarching message of the story. This essay delves deeper into how responsibility is portrayed in "An Inspector Calls," examining its multifaceted nature, effects on character development, and the broader societal commentary it offers.

Essay due? We'll write it for you!

Any subject

Min. 3-hour delivery

Pay if satisfied

Get your price

Inspector Goole's Probing

The character of Inspector Goole acts as the catalyst for unearthing hidden truths and prompting the characters to confront their responsibilities. Through his methodical questioning and calm demeanor, he brings to light the chain of events leading to Eva Smith's tragic end. Inspector Goole serves as a moral compass, challenging the characters to reassess their actions and the role they played in shaping Eva's life.

Individual Actions and Consequences

The play emphasizes the link between individual choices and their consequences. Each character's actions, whether directly or indirectly, contribute to Eva's downfall. Mr. Birling's decision to dismiss her plea for better wages, Sheila's impulsive report of Eva, and Gerald's affair all intertwine, illustrating the collective impact of their actions. The play underscores the notion that irresponsibility has far-reaching effects, beyond what is immediately apparent.

Consequences and Accountability

The characters are forced to reckon with the consequences of their actions as the play unfolds. Inspector Goole's revelations make it evident that the characters' lack of responsibility led to Eva's suffering. Sheila's transformation from a young woman of privilege to a person who acknowledges her culpability showcases the power of accountability. Eric's confession further underscores the weight of responsibility and the potential for redemption through acknowledgment of wrongdoing.

Collective Responsibility and Social Critique

Beyond the characters' individual journeys, the play serves as a critique of a society that prioritizes individual interests over collective responsibility. The Birling family's unwillingness to acknowledge their shared responsibility for Eva's fate mirrors the societal ills of the time. The play's commentary on class disparities and the impact of unchecked power highlights the need for individuals and society at large to take responsibility for the welfare of all members.

Inspector Goole's Message

Inspector Goole's closing speech encapsulates the play's central message about responsibility. His statement that "we don't live alone" reinforces the idea that our actions have consequences that extend beyond ourselves. The inspector's message challenges the characters and the audience alike to reflect on their roles in shaping a just and compassionate society.


"An Inspector Calls" masterfully weaves the theme of responsibility into its narrative, inviting audiences to contemplate the impact of their actions on others and society as a whole. Through Inspector Goole's character, the characters' transformations, and the broader societal commentary, the play underscores the importance of recognizing and acting upon our responsibilities. It serves as a compelling reminder that our choices and actions ripple through the lives of others, shaping the world we inhabit.

Get quality help now


Verified writer

Proficient in: Plays

4.8 (345 reviews)
“Writer-Justin was a very nice and great writer. He asked questioned as necessary to perform the job at the highest level. ”

+75 relevant experts are online

More An Inspector Calls Related Essays

banner clock
Clock is ticking and inspiration doesn't come?
We`ll do boring work for you. No plagiarism guarantee. Deadline from 3 hours.

We use cookies to offer you the best experience. By continuing, we’ll assume you agree with our Cookies policy.