An Inspector Calls

Inspector Goole Character Analysis

Goole is allegedly a police officer who has come to investigate the potential involvement of the Birlings in the recent suicide of a girl by the name of Eva Smith. Throughout the play, he conducts himself in a manner unsuitable for a police inspector: he takes moral stances throughout his interrogation, usually in support of labor rights, and in the end he universalizes Eva Smith’s case to the cases of many such disadvantaged lower class citizens throughout the country. In the end of the play, it turns that he is not an Inspector after all, and is suspected instead to be a person from the town with socialist tendencies and a grudge against Mr. Birling. The final revelation—the call from the infirmary that there really was a suicide—renews suspicion about the Inspector’s identity, as it makes it seem that Inspector Goole did somehow know what was going to happen, and was not merely seeking to make the Birlings cognizant of their moral wrongs.

Inspector Goole Quotes in An Inspector Calls

The An Inspector Calls quotes below are all either spoken by Inspector Goole or refer to Inspector Goole. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Wealth, Power, and Influence Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dramatists Play Service, Inc. edition of An Inspector Calls published in 1998.
Act 1 Quotes

It’s the way I like to go to work. One person and one line of inquiry at a time. Otherwise, there’s a muddle.

Related Characters: Inspector Goole (speaker)
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt moll

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other An Inspector Calls quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

Inspector: There are a lot of young women living that sort of existence, Miss Birling, in every city and big town in this country.
Sheila: But these girls aren’t cheap labor. They’re people.

Related Characters: Sheila (speaker), Inspector Goole (speaker)
Related Symbols: Eva Smith
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis a

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Gerald: We’re respectable citizens and not dangerous criminals.
Inspector: Sometimes there isn’t as much difference as you think.

Related Characters: Gerald Croft (speaker), Inspector Goole (speaker)
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat

Act 2 Quotes

Miss Birling has just been made to understand what she did to this girl. She feels responsible. And if she leaves us now, and doesn’t hear any more, then she’ll feel she’s entirely to blame, she’ll be alone with her responsibility.

Related Characters: Inspector Goole (speaker), Sheila, Eva Smith
Related Symbols: Eva Smith
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiatLoremLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt i

If there’s nothing else, we’ll have to share our guilt.

Related Characters: Inspector Goole (speaker)
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

You’ve had children. You must have known what she was feeling. And you slammed the door in her face.

Related Characters: Inspector Goole (speaker), Mrs. Birling, Eva Smith
Related Symbols: Eva Smith
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Act 3 Quotes

There’ll be plenty of time, when I’ve gone, for you all to adjust your family relationships.

Related Characters: Inspector Goole (speaker), Arthur Birling, Mrs. Birling, Sheila, Gerald Croft, Eric
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt m

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

This girl killed herself—and died a horrible death. But each of you helped to kill her. Remember that. Never forget it. But then I don’t think you ever will.

Related Characters: Inspector Goole (speaker), Arthur Birling, Mrs. Birling, Sheila, Gerald Croft, Eric, Eva Smith
Related Symbols: Eva Smith
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nul

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

There are millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with us, with their lives, their hopes and fears, their suffering and chance of happiness, all intertwined with our lives, with what we think and do. We don’t live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other.

Related Characters: Inspector Goole (speaker), Eva Smith
Related Symbols: Eva Smith
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Whoever that chap was, the fact remains that I did what I did. And Mother did what she did. And the rest of you did what you did to her. It’s still the same rotten story whether it’s been told to a police inspector or to somebody else.

Related Characters: Eric (speaker), Mrs. Birling, Inspector Goole
Related Symbols: Eva Smith
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Ex

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pari

Get the entire An Inspector Calls LitChart as a printable PDF.
An inspector calls.pdf.medium

Inspector Goole Character Timeline in An Inspector Calls

The timeline below shows where the character Inspector Goole appears in An Inspector Calls. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Wealth, Power, and Influence Theme Icon
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Edna enters and announces that a police inspector by the name of Goole has called on an important matter. Birling instructs her to let him in, and jokes... (full context)
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Class Politics Theme Icon
When Birling presses the Inspector on the reason for his appearance, he explains that he is investigating the suicide of... (full context)
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Morality and Legality Theme Icon
Gerald and Eric attempt to look at the photograph as well, but the Inspector does not allow them, preferring to work on only one line of inquiry at a... (full context)
Wealth, Power, and Influence Theme Icon
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Class Politics Theme Icon
At the Inspector’s prying, Birling admits that he does remember Eva Smith, and that he had discharged her... (full context)
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
...the girl’s suicide, because her time at his business long preceded her death, but the Inspector disagrees, explaining that what happened to her at the business might have determined what happened... (full context)
Wealth, Power, and Influence Theme Icon
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Class Politics Theme Icon
...in with a reference to his father’s previous pep talk, and Birling explains to the Inspector that he had recently been giving Gerald and Eric some good advice. Then Birling describes... (full context)
Wealth, Power, and Influence Theme Icon
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Morality and Legality Theme Icon
After the Inspector expresses allegiance with Eric’s disapproval, Birling inquires how well the Inspector knows Chief Constable. The... (full context)
Wealth, Power, and Influence Theme Icon
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Class Politics Theme Icon
...the same position, he would have let them stay. Birling chastises Eric, then asks the Inspector what happened to the girl after he let her go. Sheila enters the room; when... (full context)
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
When Birling and Gerald chime in that there’s nothing more to be revealed, the Inspector asks if they’re sure they don’t know what happened to the girl afterward, suggesting that... (full context)
Class Politics Theme Icon
The Inspector reminds the family that Eva Smith used more than one name, and then tells them... (full context)
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
...asks what the girl looked like, and then sobs and leaves the room when the Inspector shows her the girl’s photograph. Birling scolds the Inspector for upsetting his daughter and their... (full context)
Wealth, Power, and Influence Theme Icon
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Morality and Legality Theme Icon
Gerald asks the Inspector if he can look at the photograph, but the Inspector reiterates his preference for maintaining... (full context)
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Sheila re-enters and asks the Inspector if he knew all the time that she was guilty. The Inspector says that he... (full context)
Wealth, Power, and Influence Theme Icon
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
...her and had looked better on the girl. When Sheila effusively expresses her remorse, the Inspector harshly responds that it’s too late. (full context)
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Public versus Private Theme Icon
The Inspector continues on with his narrative of the dead girl’s difficult travails, now adding that after... (full context)
Act 2
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Public versus Private Theme Icon
...the end of Act 1, except that the main table is slightly more upstage. The Inspector remains at the door, and then enters the room and looks expectantly to Gerald. Gerald... (full context)
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Morality and Legality Theme Icon
...offends her and she accuses him of judging her to be selfish and vindictive. The Inspector offers his interpretation that Sheila simply doesn’t want to be alone with her responsibility and... (full context)
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Class Politics Theme Icon
...Mrs. Birling strides in. She has been informed of the proceedings, and insists to the Inspector that the family will not be able to assist him any more. Sheila begs her... (full context)
Wealth, Power, and Influence Theme Icon
Class Politics Theme Icon
...again warns her mother against building a wall between herself and the girl that the Inspector is bound to tear town. Mrs. Birling continues on in this vein, taking offense at... (full context)
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
...that Eric has refused to go to bed as his father asked him, because the Inspector has requested that he stay. He asks the Inspector if this is true, and then... (full context)
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Public versus Private Theme Icon
Birling takes offense at the Inspector’s tone and handling of the inquiry. The Inspector coolly proceeds to ask Gerald when he... (full context)
Public versus Private Theme Icon
Gerald apologizes to the Inspector, but Sheila insists that she rather more deserves the apology. The Inspector asks firsts whether... (full context)
Morality and Legality Theme Icon
...he doesn’t think so, before he walks out the door. Sheila points out that the Inspector never showed Gerald the picture of the girl, and the Inspector responds that he didn’t... (full context)
Wealth, Power, and Influence Theme Icon
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
The Inspector shows the photograph to Mrs. Birling, who denies recognizing it. The Inspector accuses her of... (full context)
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
...and there is some question about whether Gerald has returned or Eric has left. The Inspector continues his interrogation of Mrs. Birling by identifying her as a prominent member of the... (full context)
Wealth, Power, and Influence Theme Icon
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Class Politics Theme Icon
Mr. Birling asks why his wife should answer the Inspector’s questions, and the Inspector informs him that the girl had appealed to the Women’s Charity... (full context)
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
The Inspector asks Mrs. Birling why the girl wanted help, and Mrs. Birling initially refuses to answer,... (full context)
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
The Inspector states that he thinks she has done something very wrong that she will regret for... (full context)
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Public versus Private Theme Icon
The Inspector adds that it was because she was pregnant that she appealed to the Women’s Charity... (full context)
Wealth, Power, and Influence Theme Icon
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
...girl money, but that she didn’t want to take it because it was stolen. The Inspector asks Mrs. Birling if it wasn’t a good thing that the girl refused to take... (full context)
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Class Politics Theme Icon
Morality and Legality Theme Icon
...her mother, and asks her if she doesn’t see what’s going on, right after the Inspector voices his eagerness for Eric’s return. When the door slams, signifying Eric’s return, Mrs. Birling... (full context)
Act 3
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Public versus Private Theme Icon
...Eric is standing near the entrance of the room and asks if they know. The Inspector confirms that they do, and Sheila reveals that their mother placed blame on whichever young... (full context)
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Public versus Private Theme Icon
The Inspector leadingly asks Eric if the girl found out that his money had been stolen, and... (full context)
Wealth, Power, and Influence Theme Icon
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Morality and Legality Theme Icon
The Inspector states that he does not need to know any more, and reminds the family that... (full context)
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Class Politics Theme Icon
Morality and Legality Theme Icon
The Inspector deduces a moral from the investigation—though Eva Smith has gone, there are millions and millions... (full context)
Morality and Legality Theme Icon
...her parents are acting as though nothing has happened. She then wonders aloud whether the Inspector wasn’t actually a police inspector at all. Birling judges that it would make a big... (full context)
Morality and Legality Theme Icon
Edna announces Gerald’s entrance. Gerald inquires how the Inspector behaved with them since his departure, and then he reveals that the Inspector wasn’t a... (full context)
Morality and Legality Theme Icon
...anything to do about it. Birling agrees with his wife, and adds that that the Inspector may not be the end of it. (full context)
Morality and Legality Theme Icon
...know that they’ve all committed offenses to the same girl, suggesting that the photographs the Inspector showed the family members might actually have been distinct photographs, and not of the same... (full context)
Morality and Legality Theme Icon
Gerald asks what happened after he’d left. Mrs. Birling recounts that the Inspector accused her of seeing Eva Smith only two weeks previous, and that she had assented... (full context)
Morality and Legality Theme Icon
...he knew is dead, even though he has no evidence for it apart from the Inspector’s testimony. (full context)
Blame and Responsibility Theme Icon
Class Politics Theme Icon
Morality and Legality Theme Icon
Birling triumphantly continues to hypothesize that the Inspector simply shocked them into submission with his initial description of the girl’s suicide, in order... (full context)