`We don`t live alone` – The Inspector`s Final Speech

‘We don’t live alone’ – The Inspector’s Final Speech.
‘But just remember this. One Eva Smith has gone – but 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 say and do. We don’t live alone. We are members of one
body. We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the
time will soon come when, if men will not learn that lesson, then
they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish. Good night.’
You may have noticed that what the Inspector says here does not sound like ordinary
conversation. The way that it is structured and the language that is used makes it clear
that Priestley wanted the audience to listen carefully. It is speech rather than a piece of
A writer called Max Atkinson spent some time analysing political speeches to see what went
down well with audiences. He noticed a few simple techniques were often used. Look at
some of these which are listed below and see whether you can find examples of them in the
inspector’s final speech:
a) Listing things in threes (e.g. ‘Government of the people, by the people, for the
people.’ Gettysburg Address, 1863)
b) The use of contrastive pairs (e.g. ‘That’s one small step for man. One giant leap for
mankind.’ Moon landing broadcast, 1969)
c) That talking positively about ‘us’ or ‘we’ makes the audience identify with what is
being said.
d) That talking negatively about ‘them’ makes for a strong speech.
e) The use of the first person singular ‘I’ to make the audience feel the speaker is
f) The use of powerful or memorable words and phrases.
g) The rhythm of the language (e.g. the length of sentences, the effect of pauses.)
The Dramatic Impact of the Inspector’s Final Speech
1. What is the immediate impact of this speech on the characters on stage, and on the
2. What does the inspector’s speech precede? How does this add to the dramatic
impact of his speech?