The Character of Sheila Birling

461 Words2 Pages
Playful in the opening, Sheila is suspicious about Gerald who never came near her “last summer,” suggesting that Sheila isn’t as naïve and shallow as she first appeared. Her character begins to change when she hears of her father’s treatment of Eva Smith - the working-class girl who commits suicide with detergent - in “An Inspector Calls.” Like all of the Birlings, Sheila was partly responsible for the death of Eva; Sheila was jealous of this pretty girl who worked innocently in a store and Sheila reported Eva for slight, meaning once again this young Miss Smith was fired, sending her into a spiral of depression. Sheila is a perceptive person. When Inspector Goole mentions the name Daisy Renton and the investigation into the death, Sheila notices Gerald’s reaction and she is the first to realise Eric’s part in the story. She is also the first to wonder whom Goole really is by suggesting he is some sort of impostor.Curiosity killed the cat and Sheila Birling is a curious person who needs to know about the part Gerald plays. She doesn’t get angry when she gets wind of the affair and respects his honesty; Sheila is becoming more mature. She is angry with her parents for not seeing everything unfold the way she does when they pretend nothing much has happened that evening and Shelia sees them in an unfavourable light. J.B. Priestley changes Sheila as he does with all the characters, so by the end of the play she is much wiser, judging her parents and Gerald differently. She has wised up to her responsibilities and becomes someone who would never spite a working-class girl for her pretty looks again. Sheila is definitely impressionable and willing to accept new concepts and ideas. She is affected by the Inspector’s revelations about the Birling family and society. She and Eric are the only real cause for optimism in the play with a positive change in attitude and honest
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