Theme Of Sheila In An Inspector Calls

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In the morality play ‘An Inspector calls’ by J.B Priestley written in 1945 but set in 1912, the character portrayed by Sheila Birling represents the upper middle class through her family’s position in social ladder however she also represents the youth in civilization and how they are influenced by their parents. Sheila’s character could be described as a pause from the dynamics of the older generations. As the play progresses her character develops in maturity as well as confidence, perceptiveness and has become enlightened by the Inspectors visit. We uncover a new side to Sheila during the inspectors visit, we learn that she is the most sympathetic and conscientious in the Birling family, showing more empathy for the suicide of Eva Smith than the other family members. The central theme of the play is responsibility, and Priestley gives Sheila a significant role in making her family realise that they are all responsible. The inspector and Sheila spread the idea of collective responsibility and that every action will affect someone showing that society is linked. The themes that are be being presented in the play echo the socialist views of the author. At the beginning of the play, Sheila Birling is shown to be very energetic and enthusiastic about life. The opening stage directions play an important role in presenting the character before she changes dramatically. She is described as "a pretty girl in her early twenties, very pleased with life and rather excited."
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