In the previous lesson, students began to discuss the concept of power, and the impact that it has on both the relationships in the play and relationships in society. Students focused their text-based study on Eric and his implied sexual assault of Eva Smith, which paved the way for students to discuss sexual consent.
In this lesson, students will further reflect on what An Inspector Calls can teach us about the impact of our individual and collective decisions and actions on others by considering the message that Inspector Goole sends the characters and the audience. In his parting speech, and throughout the play, Inspector Goole holds the characters to account for their actions, making them understand that they are interconnected with and interdependent on those around them: their actions and decisions have consequences that reach far beyond their own lives. Those who read and watch the play cannot help but reflect on themselves and understand that they too have a responsibility to consider the needs of fellow human beings.
Students will begin the lesson by creating an identity chart for Inspector Goole before reading the next section of the play. Students will then explore the character of Inspector Goole in depth, paying particular attention to his closing speech, which emphasises the importance of social responsibility. In addition to completing activities to explore character development, students will write analytical paragraphs and will reflect on the Inspector’s words, message and what he symbolises. Such reflection will enable them to consider what factors shape their moral views, to think about social responsibility in society and to consider what the play can teach us about our own lives and relationships. Students will then go on to consider the mysterious nature of Inspector Goole, exploring the purpose of the character, what he represents and why Priestley may have opted to create an Inspector who behaves much like a ‘ghoul’ by effectively disappearing from the plot.
The activities in this lesson refer to pages 55–64 of the Heinemann edition of An Inspector Calls.
Alignment with the GCSE Specification
- Analysis (Lit-AO2, Lang-AO2)
- Critical Reading (Lit-AO1/AO3, Lang-AO1/AO4)
- Evidence-Based Reasoning (Lit-AO1–3/Lang-AO1–4)
- Knowledge of Content (Lit-AO1/AO3)
- Reading Comprehension (Lit-AO1, Lang-AO1)
Students annotate, discuss and evaluate Inspector Goole’s parting words, considering the valuable ideas contained within the speech and the message that Priestley is transmitting. This focused study requires students to use comprehension skills, critical reading skills and evidence-based reasoning. Students then assess the portrayal of Inspector Goole throughout the play, scanning the pages to look for clues concerning who or what his character is. This process boosts students’ knowledge of the play’s content and encourages students to engage critically with the character, reflecting on his purpose and significance. Students can then develop this study by completing an analysis grid on Inspector Goole and writing an analytical paragraph concerning Priestley’s portrayal of the character. The use of discussion and writing throughout gives students the opportunity to verbalise their thoughts and practise turning them into coherent sentences, which will help them across their English GCSEs.
Learn more about this unit’s Alignment with GCSE Specification.