Sheila Birling Character Profile Essay

Arthur Birling -  The patriarch of the Birling family. Arthur is a “rather portentous” man “in his fifties” who owns a profitable manufacturing company. His business success allows the Birlings to live in upper-middle-class comfort. Birling believes that capitalist principles of individual willpower and the protection of company profits are good for business and good for society. On the night the play takes place, he is hosting a dinner at which Gerald Croft and his daughter Sheila are guests of honor.

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Sybil Birling -  The matriarch of the Birling family. Sybil is described in the play’s performance notes as “cold.” Though she is pleased her daughter Sheila is engaged to be married, she tends to ignore any potential discord in the family. Sybil serves on a charitable committee in the town, and busies herself with social events befitting a woman whose husband is a business success. She protects what she perceives to be the family’s good image and standing in the community.
Sheila Birling -  Daughter of Arthur and Sybil. Sheila, “in her early twenties,” is engaged to Gerald and believes, at the start of the play, that her future lies bright before her. But knowledge of her role, and the family’s role, in Eva/Daisy’s death devastates Sheila, who wonders how her family can go on afterward, pretending simply that nothing has happened.

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Eric Birling -  Son of Arthur and Sybil, and older brother of Sheila. Eric works part-time at the family business and has a drinking problem that he hides, with some success, from his parents and sister. When it is revealed that Eric had a romantic relationship with a woman, resulting in a child born out of wedlock, the family must confront facts about Eric’s life, and about their own, which they had sought previously to ignore.

Read an in-depth analysis of Eric Birling.

Gerald Croft -  Fiancé to Sheila, and son of another prominent manufacturing family. Gerald is from a more socially-elevated family, and Arthur worries that Gerald’s parents believe he is making a “poor match” in marrying Sheila. Although the Inspector criticizes Gerald’s affair with Daisy, the Inspector notes that Gerald is perhaps the least culpable, and most morally upright, of all the characters.

Inspector Goole -  A representative, supposedly, of the local police force, sent to investigate Eva Smith/Daisy Renton’s suicide. The Inspector asks all the Birlings, and Gerald, questions about Eva/Daisy. It seems that the Inspector knows the answer to everything he asks, but wants the family to admit to various instances of wrongdoing. At the close of the play, the characters wonder aloud whether the Inspector is actually a policeman, and the constabulary confirms that no such man serves on the force. But this does not explain why the Inspector, who seems to have socialist sympathies, would have come to the house, or how he could have known so much about Eva/Daisy and the Birlings.

Read an in-depth analysis of Inspector Goole.

Edna -  The Birlings’ maid. Edna mostly sets the scenes in which the family eats and talks. She is not, like the Birlings, of the upper-middle class, but instead makes money by virtue of her labor. Edna leaves the room at the end of the play without mention of her absence or whereabouts.
Eva Smith/Daisy Renton -  The victim in the play, and its most mysterious character. Inspector Goole begins by telling Arthur that a girl named Eva Smith has killed herself, and Arthur recalls a girl of that name in his employ whom he dismissed because she asked for a raise. Other characters claim to know different girls of different names, including “Daisy Renton,” who, the Inspector asserts, are all the same person. But the Inspector only shows Eva/Daisy’s photograph to one person at a time, causing Gerald to wonder, just before the play’s end, whether the Inspector has tricked the family into combining incidents involving separate girls into one. This revelation is again undercut when, at the very close of the play, Arthur receives word that an unnamed girl has died in the local hospital from ingesting disinfectant.

Read an in-depth analysis of Eva Smith/Daisy Renton.

Character Analysis of Sheila in An Inspector Calls Essay

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Character Analysis of Sheila in An Inspector Calls

Sheila is unlike any other character in the play - she is far more conscientious and more sensitive than any of the others, and she does not express her opinion as frequently or forcefully as her parents.

When Sheila hears of the death of Eva Smith she is genuinely shocked by the news, and despite the fact that she does not know her, she is still upset. We can see this from what she says when she hears the news: "Oh - how horrible!". When the Inspector shows her a photograph of the girl she reacts much more dramatically than any of the others, which tells us that perhaps she had already realised that her behaviour towards the girl had been inappropriate and unnecessary, and…show more content…

Sheila demonstrates that she is ashamed of her actions and she is the only character to tell the Inspector the truth from the beginning.

Another noticeable aspect of Sheila's character is that she submits to the authority of the Inspector where no other character does, and she warns the others against trying to hide facts from him as she believes he already knows everything. In Act 2 Sheila encourages her mother to admit everything to the Inspector: "It means that we've no excuse now for putting on airs and that if we've any sense we wont try", and "And now you're pretending not to recognise [Eva Smith] from that photograph. I admit I don't know why you should, but I know jolly well you did in fact recognise her, from the way you looked. And if you're not telling the truth, why should the Inspector apologise? And can't you see, both of you, you're making it worse?". From these quotes we can see that Sheila is in favour of getting all the facts out in the open to avoid any surprises later, and she even goes so far as to scold her parents for 'putting on airs' in order to intimidate the
Inspector.

In the final act, once it

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