When Birling talks about Eric’s; “Public-school-and-varsity life” Eric insists; “[They] don’t need to tell the inspector that” and he’s obviously hiding something. Eric later admits to being responsible for the girl being pregnant and that he was; “In a state of hell about it” showing he was obviously worried about anyone finding out. When asked about what he did to help the girl, he confessed to stealing his fathers money to support her. He must have cared for her otherwise he wouldn’t have stolen the money and risked being found out. We know he cared for her also because he says.
“I wasn’t in love with her or anything- but I liked her” We know he regrets what he has done because when the inspector asks him what happened at her lodgings he says; “That’s when it happened, and I didn’t even remember- that’s the hellish thing. Oh- my God! How stupid it all is.” He also shows anger when he finds out his mother refused her help; “You killed her- and the child she’d have had too- your own grandchild- you killed them both- damn you, damn you!” He was angry with his mother for pushing Eva/ Daisy away when she asked for help, because that was the last time Eva was heard of and it could have driven her to take her life.
Out of all the characters, I think that Eric and Sheila were most affected by Eva’s death because when the inspector leaves and Gerald returns with the news that he wasn’t a real inspector, Eric and Sheila are the only two who are focused on what they have done wrong. For example, Birling only thinks about his knighthood being ruined by the scandal; “You don’t seem to care about anything. But I care. I was almost certain for a knighthood in the next honours list.” Gerald is more bothered about who the fake inspector s than he is about the girl who killed herself.
“That man wasn’t a police officer… That’s what I came back to tell you.” If the only reason he came back was to tell them the inspector was a fake then he is obviously not thinking about it and therefore hasn’t affected him. Mrs Birling is too busy complaining about the way the inspector talked to them and his manners than she is about refusing Evas case for help; “The rude way in which he spoke to Mr Birling and me- it was quite extraordinary!” Whereas Gerald, Mr Birling and Mrs Birling were occupied thinking about other things, Eric and Sheila were constantly talking about the regret they feel for what they had done.
Sheila often tries to focus the conversation on the girl when other family members talk about their own topics; “I behaved badly too. I know I did. I’m ashamed of it but now you’re beginning all over again to pretend that nothing much happened.” Eric also tries to centre the conversation onto Eva; “Oh- for gods sake! What does it matter now whether you got a knighthood or not?” in reaction to his fathers comment about “[being] certain for a knighthood”.
The two of them also state that they feel regret and shame for their actions and they both lecture the family about the evenings events. Eric says to Birling; “You told us that a man has to make his own way, look after himself and mind his own business… I didn’t notice you told [the Inspector] that it’s every man for himself” When Birling talks about his reputation being ruined, Sheila snaps back with; “That’s not what I’m talking about. I don’t care about that. The point is you don’t seem to have learned anything.” Priestly conveys the message that you should be careful what you do or say to people and be weary of the consequences. He shows this through all the characters and it also tells you that the smallest thing can have a large, serious outcome. For example in the play a complaint in a shop could lead to someone getting fired and then she committed suicide.