An Inspector Calls - Sheila and Eric

377 Words2 Pages
Sheila Sheila begins the play as a naïve, self-centred and privileged young woman but soon develops into a perceptive and increasingly mature and wise character, who embodies the attitudes of responsibility that form J. B. Priestley’s message in the play. This is mainly due to the Inspector. When she first hears of Eva Smith’s suicide her reaction is ‘Oh - how horrible!’ This is an immediate and genuine response to the suffering of another human being and from this we see she can be sympathetic towards those less fortunate than herself. From this point onwards, Sheila seems to turn over a new leaf. She says that she ‘she will never do it again’ in reference to the incident which caused Eva Smith to lose her job. As the Inspector’s investigation goes on, Sheila is the only member of the family to perceive a deeper purpose in the Inspector’s visit, other than the investigation of a death. She realizes he is investigating them. She warns her family that ‘he’s giving us rope so that we’ll hang ourselves.’ Sheila understands that avoiding the truth is useless in the face of his questioning. She knows they cannot avoid being confronted by the awful truth of their responsibility for the death of Eva/Daisy because he knows what it is they have done already. The Inspector has made her aware of herself and her actions and this leaves her wanting to change and help those she can. Eric Eric seems embarrassed and awkward at the begging of the play, with the first mention of him being ‘Eric suddenly guffaws’. This continues with his being unable to explain why he laughed, perhaps indicating nervousness. This may be due to the fact that he does not want his family to know of his drinking. However, it soon becomes clear that Eric is just as compassionate as his sister when he hears of how his father fired Eva Smith. He says ‘why shouldn’t they try for higher wages’. This
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