How does the character ‘Sheila Birling’ change in the play in ‘An Inspector Calls?’
The play ‘An Inspector Calls was set in 1912 and written in 1945 by J.B Priestly. In those days society was capitalist, their was a massive division between upper class and lower class people, the wealth was not shared equally. The play is based on the Birling family headed by Arthur Birling who is a wealthy factory owner. At the beginning of the play the family is celebrating Sheila and Gerald Crofts engagement. The mood starts to change when the inspector arrives and informs them about a young woman Eva Smith suicide.
Sheila Birling is described as a ‘pretty girl in her early twenties, very pleased with life and rather excited’ at the start of the play. Shelia is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Birling. Earlier in the play Sheila’s mother informs her about married life claiming that men ‘spend nearly all their time and energy on business’. However, Sheila does not agree with doesn’t agree with her and warns Gerald ‘so you be careful’ which shows that she wants more attention from Gerald.
Sheila and Gerald’s relationship seems a bit dysfunctional and it seems like they don’t love each as much as we know they should. At the beginning Sheila mentioned how Gerard never came near her last summer but he tried to justify his self and said how he was ‘awfully busy at works all that time’ Sheila wasn’t all convinced and replied by saying ‘yes, that’s what you say’. Also at the beginning of act 2 Gerald wanted to hide everything he knew about Eva smith from the inspector but Sheila wasn’t sure about it, she was curious to hear about his part of the story.
What role does Shelia play in An Inspector Calls? The play is set in 1914, 4 years before the Great War. The play begins in the middle of a dinner party celebrating Arthur Birling’s daughter’s engagement, but is soon intruded by a police inspector after the suicide of a young working-class woman. Under interrogation, every member of the family turns out to have some form of involvement with her ...
Sheila also showed how much she matured when she found out about Gerald’s affair, she wasn’t angry at him at all; she said that she respected his honesty and swiftly moved on from the topic of the affair.
After Eva smith gets fired from her job in the Birling’s factory she is fortunate enough to find a new job at a retail shop called milwards. Things started going bad when Sheila made a complaint at her because she thought Eva was ‘smiling’ at her. Sheila used her influence coming form a wealthy family to get Eva smith fired’ I went to the manger at milwards and I told him that if they didn’t get rid of that girl, I’d never go near that place again and I’d persuade mother to close our account with them’.
To conclude the audience have now started to see Sheila as a thoughtful person. She was the first one out of all the family to feel guilty and accept her responsibility of what she did to Eva Smith. Sheila also doesn’t agree with her parents when they found out that the inspector wasn’t real they both pretended that nothing happened and that got Sheila and Eric (Sheila’s brother) angry and annoyed which showed her how her views changed through out the play.