Sheila Birling In J. B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls

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The play “An Inspector Calls” is composed of many antitheses between the characters. In this section of the coursework, I am going to compare and contrast the personalities and actions of Sybil Birling and Sheila Birling throughout the play. In the first act of the play, Sheila ultimately remorses for the death of Eva Smith whereas Sybil expresses no regret or even pity for her. For instance, Sheila cries “(she almost breaks down, but just controls herself) How could I know what would happen afterwards? If she’d been some miserable plain little creature, I don't suppose I'd have done it.”. From the beginning of the play, Sheila has been portrayed a playful kid, always fooling around. However, when the story of Eva is told to her, she immediately loses her mind and deeply regrets what she has done. Although she claims that she could not know what would…show more content…
She defends his son “(distressed) Eric, I can't believe it. There must be some mistake. You don't know what we've been saying” in the appearance of Goole and blames her son afterwards “(coming to life) I should think not. Eric, I’m absolutely ashamed of you”. The contrast between “coming to life” and “distressed” suggests that Sybil is shocked by the appearance and knowledge of the Inspector or she pretends not understanding the truth about her own son, Eric. Either way, the audience feels timid towards Sybil since pretentious is not how an upper class’s personality should be. A businessman’s wife is expected to stand up to protect herself and her family. The strong verb “ashamed” that Sybil uses with Eric suggests a sudden change in the attitude of herself. As a result, it emphasises even more on her apprehension and she becomes a joke of the audience since before this event, Sybil proves herself to the audience that she is very stubborn and no one can do anything to change her
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