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By The End of the Play How Does Priestley Show Sheila's Change in Attitude?

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Introduction

By The End of the Play How Does Priestley Show Sheila's Change in Attitude? In the play "An Inspector Calls" Sheila Birling changes throughout. Priestley shows her change in attitude after her confession and the confessions of her family. We see the difference in behaviour from the moment the inspector arrives. Sheila's change is vital for the plot because Priestley wrote the play for a reason: to show the lack of respect that higher class people had for one of a lower class. "An Inspector Calls" is about a rich family in 1912, but was written in 1945. This is important because of the dramatic irony. When he talks about the Titanic, "absolutely unsinkable." The effect of this is that the reader feels they understand, because they know for a fact that the titanic did sink. Also when he mentions about the war when he says, ""you'll be living in a world that'll have forgotten all these Capital versus Labour agitations and all these silly little war scares." This is ironic because the war took place in 1914. The family are called the Birlings. ...read more.

Middle

Was it an accident?" and appears very shocked to hear this. Shortly after, Mr Birling confesses and Sheila is distressed at hearing this. When the inspector tries to blame all of them, Sheila starts interrupting, "What do you mean by saying that? You talk as if we were responsible -". She has a very sharp tone of voice, and is very inquisitive and sensitive to the fact that her father was partly responsible for Eva's death; but only on a superficial level because it doesn't affect her life directly. The Sheila confesses. She admits to being jealous of Eva and getting her sacked from Milwards. "And I was absolutely furious" Just because her envious side got the better of her, and she resorted to blackmail, "I went to the manager at Milwards and I told him that if they didn't get rid of that girl, I'd never go near the place again and I'd persuade mother to close our account with them." At this point Sheila's character is changing from the happy bubbly person she was at the start, and is now feeling guilt and hurt. ...read more.

Conclusion

This relates to Priestley's theme of social responsibility, because at that time - 1912 - it was a common thing for upper class people to look down on lower class people and not worry about how their actions affected anyone "below" them. At the start of the play, Sheila is happily celebrating her engagement. She is very stuck-up and very posh, as she comes from a wealthy family. She acts very superior and arrogant. During the course of the play, through each confession, she endures shock, anger, hurt, guilt and sorrow. All these factors made Sheila's attitude change more, and by the end of the play she seems more mature about life in general and in the way in which she treats others. Priestly shows her change by making her more knowledgeable about the aspect of social responsibility; it's almost as if she has grown 5 years older in the space of one evening. She changes because she realised her and her families' behaviour towards Eva were wrongful and that there is nothing she can do to bring back Eva Smith. ...read more.

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