At the start of the play, Sheila Birling is described as “a pretty girl in her early twenties, very pleased with her life and rather excited.” She also appears to be a very compassionate person as when she heard the conditions of her father’s treatment towards Eva Smith, she immediately said “but these girls aren’t cheap labour-they’re people.” This portrays that she concerned about the poor and cares about them, she does not look down upon them unlike her family members. This also reveals that her attitude towards life is very positive. On the other hand, Sheila Birling is also a stubborn person, raised with an upper-class mindset of utilizing power and superiority to hide her own insecurities. “I told them that if they did not get rid of her I will never go to that place again” This depicts that Shelia used her father’s upper class status to get rid of Eva in the wrong way.
However, after she learned that her selfish actions is a part of Eva’s death, she helps Inspector Goole to inspect other family members. She regretted getting Eva fired. ‘If I could help her now I would.’ At the end of the play she still feels ashamed and guilty. Sheila Birling appears to be the only person to learn to be responsible for others later on in the play and is the person most affected and moved by the interrogation. The quote “I behaved badly too.
I know I did. I’m ashamed of it” shows that she is feeling guilty and is no longer pushing away her role of responsibility, unlike her mother. She represents the new generations who are willing to and can change to become a better person in society.Priestly builds up tension and suspense in the start the of the play. Gerald croft was a suspicious character at the beginning of the play when Shelia questioned him “except for all last summer, when you never came near me.” This clearly shows how she has always been suspicious of him. Later it was revealed that he had cheated on her. This portrays that he had been dishonest and disloyal towards Sheila right from the start.
We later learn that he does not care about what Shelia thinks and that he treats women lightly as shown by the quote “he says I’m getting hysterical.” However, he is somewhat socially responsible as he helped Eva Smith when he first saw her in trouble, albeit his later motives. This is shown in the quote, ‘Then gave me a glance that was nothing less than a cry for help.’ This shows that he cares. He also helped Eva by supporting her with both finance and hospitality. “So I insisted Daisy moving into those rooms to help her going.
” The phrase ‘to help her going’ conveys how considerate and generous he is. Although after he was satisfied and got what he wanted from her, he broke things off with her and acted as if nothing had happened between them. He lets the audience down when he thought the inspector was a hoax and immediately forgets how poorly he treated Sheila and Eva. He represents the selfishness of the upper class and the way women were treated differently from men. In my opinion, I think that even though Gerald Croft is guilty and responsible, he is not feeling as guilty and responsible as he should be.
Mrs Birling sits on charity organisations and has public influence. Her personality is a confident and prideful women. She is described as a “a rather cold woman,” and her husband’s “social superior.
” She completely lacks empathy or understanding on how people live, stereotyping that different classes behave in a certain way. This is shown in the quote “a girl of that class.” The word ‘that class’ conveys how she looks down upon lower classes treating them as if subhuman. It also shows that she is judgmental and thinks that she is more socially and morally superior than others. She makes the audience see how the class division was in the 1912s and how awful life was for the lower classes. Mrs Birling does not feel any sympathy towards Eva nor does she accept any responsibility.
This is shown in the quote. ‘As if a girl of that sort would refuse money,’ and ‘but I think she had only herself to blame.’ The word ‘sort’ shows that she is being prejudice, and biased what Eva said was true or not.
This shows how stubborn and cold she is. Her personality is also very naive and protective. Mrs Birling is ‘naive’ as she thinks that there is not an issue with her family and ignores what she doesn’t want to see .She also is prepared to blame the father of the child as she does not know that the father is her own son, Eric.
‘Go and look for the father of the child. It’s his responsibility.’ This illustrates that not only she is not admitting her role of responsibility but she is also trying to get rid of the blame on her. She also cares only about her reputation and pride “Oh, Eric, how could you?’ Instead of comforting her son, she is humiliated and angered by Eric’s actions. This conveys that all she cares about is her reputation, as his actions is something that could damage it. Later, Mrs Birling starts becoming more protective of Eric when she realises the truth.
‘No – Eric – please –