Homework Help

Character Analysis of "An Inspector Calls"Well basically I am writing an essay and I am...

user profile pic

raziaisdabest | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 27, 2008 at 10:51 AM via web

dislike 0 like
Character Analysis of "An Inspector Calls"

Well basically I am writing an essay and I am directing a play "An Inspector Calls". And, I have to explain to an actress how I think Sheila's  part should be played.  Is there anyone who can give me guidence on how to direct her in the part?

1) An introduction to the play in which you briefly tell her when the play is set. What the play is about (very brief) and what moral message Priesly was trying to give the audience.

3 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 29, 2008 at 5:31 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

The play is a mystery, detective story with Inspector Goole as the title character.  

"An Inspector Callsis set in the dining room of a large suburban house in the industrial city of Brumley, North Midlands, England. The time is early April, 1912, shortly before the fateful voyage of the Titanic. The action is in three acts."

"The mood of carefree happiness is cleverly undercut by Birling’s ironic reference to the imminent sailing of the Titanic, which, in approximately a week, will become the symbol of an age’s hubris."

Sheila is the daughter of Arthur and Sybil Birling. She is pretty,  in her twenties, and engaged to Gerald Croft. 

The play's central focus is the questioning of a family about the suicide of a woman they all know. 

Inspector Goole interrogates each member of the household regarding Eva Smith's suicide.  He brings out the dismissive attitudes of the characters against the poor victim, Eva. 

"Sheila confesses that she had been instrumental in getting Eva fired from her job as a clerk because she thought that the girl had smirked at her while she was trying on a dress."  

Gerard had an affair with Eva, Eric also had a relationship with her, getting her pregnant.  The point is that each character will defend his or her right to be indifferent to the cause of Eva's death.  No one wants to be bothered with Eva's death, they are too busy with their happy lives. 

user profile pic

schischi | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 2, 2008 at 5:53 AM (Answer #3)

dislike 0 like

shielas character would be a generally happy(at the begining 'pleased in life') and shes compassionate and when she finds out about the suicide she feels (unlike her father) that she is to be blamed. She feels terribly sorry for the death and feels that the inspector is simply someone no one should mess with. she and eric are more of the rasional ones. unlike their father, they are more aware of their surroundings and less in denial. more realistic.

 shiela also gets on her parents nerves. BUT that is simply because her parents are very jumpy and they just wouldnt tolerate Sheilas emotions and reactions (which are actually appropriate and natural) 

shes more of the sweet pleasant sort of nature although once in the drama, (the flashback- what she did to eva smith)..  she just was feeling edgy and envious simply because while she was trying a dress in a shop, eva smiled at her.. and she was just soo annoyed and promised the store people that she would close their account they have with her mother or something..

but Shiela clearly said that she regretted it later on.(and thats why shes the lot of the characters that is more understanding and compassionate)

her father and mother are just the opposite.  they wont tolerate such accusations and wont take any of the blame. theres no sense of remorse from the parents. shiela does have remorse and shes more human than anyone else.

 shes the sort that is altogether sweet and sensitive.but daring2

user profile pic

kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted March 31, 2012 at 9:57 AM (Answer #9)

dislike 0 like

Shiela is a sensitive character. We see her as naive and insecure, as these qualities are what really causes her to have Eva sacked from Milward's. We see her insecurity even from teh beginning when she questions where Gerald was "all last summer". She seems aware that the engagement is a business transaction more than it is a love match.

Sheila has the capacity to learn and grow, however, and she is able to see the social responsibility which the inspector has arrived to educate them to.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes