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Examine the character of Sheila in "An Inspector Calls".

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An Inspector Calls In the play An Inspector Calls, Sheila morphs her ideologies from capitalist views of her Arthur Birling to socialist views of the Inspector causing the audience to change their views on her from negative to positive. Before the Inspector’s arrival Sheila is presented as materialistic and superficial proving herself as a part of the Birling family. Moreover, Sheila is also presented as dependant on others, relying on her family and fiancé to make her decisions; this further integrates her into the family unit. The Birling’s are hated by the audience because they strongly disagree with Arthur Birling’s views and his capitalist mentality. This is because he claims that there will be no war and the Titanic is unsinkable. However, the audience, who are watching the play in 1945, have lived through the two horrific world wars and have witnessed the Titanic sink and hence they dislike him for his bold statements. The dramatist presents Sheila in such a negative prospect so there is a great contrast when Sheila moves away from the family unit towards the inspector causing the audience to have a liking towards her. During the presence of the Inspector Sheila is heavily influenced by the Inspector causing her to move away from her family and change her capitalist views to socialist views of the Inspector. ...read more.


She puts Gerald?s views above her own as she is asking him for an opinion on the ring not taking her opinion on the ring. By placing herself below Gerald, a capitalist, on the social hierarchy Priestley incites revulsion for Sheila in the audience because they do not class capitalism as superior and they believe that socialism is a better belief. Priestley objectifies Sheila in this quotation but a point to be made is that just as Sheila objectifies herself, she is objectified by those of a higher class than her. She is used as an object of trade, like a token by Mr Birling through marriage in order to secure the unification of Birling and co. with Crofts and Co. This induces irony due to the fact that Sheila herself is superficial and materialistic and is then presented as an item of trade between Birling and Gerald?s family thus becoming the material. The dramatist presents Sheila as an object and presents her as dependant to promote the idea of socialism and display that capitalism is wrong as people are being objectified for wealth. Once the Inspector has arrived, Sheila begins to show empathy for Eva Smith, something which her father and the family unit are yet to display. ...read more.


By separating herself from her family, she sides with the inspector and due to the views of the audience, enhances the image of Sheila. This is because the audience are against the views of Mr Birling, anyone who is on the Inspector?s side gets thought highly of by the audience. In addition, we see that Sheila is repeating the words that have been previously said by the inspector, she echoes the words ?fire, blood and anguish?. This statement is proleptic as she correctly predicts the future as this statement is describing war and the audience know that there was indeed a war after the period that this drama is set in as they had witnessed two World Wars, only ending the year this drama was written. This is in direct contrast to the quote from Mr Birling where he openly claims that no war will occur, this being an incorrect assumption from Mr Birling, thus offending the audience who had just lived through two wars. Due to this, the audience sides with Sheila and the Inspector instead of Mr Birling, meaning the audience is then able to empathise with Sheila while disliking Mr Birling and the rest of the family unit in which Sheila is no longer a part of. ...read more.

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