Sheila: An Inspector Calls


Sheila: Priestley's Message

  • She represents (with Eric) the younger generation – Priestley saw them as ‘more impressionable’ – after all, they were the future.
  • She gives the audience hope that their society can improve if people make changes and take responsibility.
  • By the end of the play she learns her lesson. She takes responsibility and changes; she also tries to encourage the members of her family to do the same.
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Sheila: Key Quotes, Act 1

'Sheila, is a pretty girl in her early twenties, very pleased with life and rather excited'

'like one of these purple-faced old men'

'except for all last summer, when you never came near me' 

'you're squiffy'

'neither do I. All wrong' (Birling talking about business)

'Oh Gerald, you've got it- is it the one you wanted me to have?'

'Look- Mummy- isn't it a beauty?'

'Oh -how horrible! Was it an accident?'

'Sorry! It's just that I can't help thinking about this girl- destroying herself so horribly'

'You talk as if I am responsible' - ironic as she is partly responsible 

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Sheila: Key Quotes, Act 1, part 2

'I think it was a mean thing to do. Perhaps that spoilt everything for her'- when Birling sacked Eva

'It's a rotten shame'

'But these girls aren't cheap labour- they're people'- disagrees with Birling

'She looks at it closely, recognizes it with a little cry, gives a half-stifled sob, and then runs out,'- guilty consience already

'You knew it was me all the time, didn’t you?'

'But I felt rotten about it at the same time and now I feel a lot worse'- Sheila feels very guilty, very remorseful from the start, knows she behaved badly, she has an emotional response unlike the other family members, more compassionate than the others. 

'(miserably) So I'm really responsible?' - admitting the fact she was part of her death, feels as if she caused Eva to kill herself. 


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Sheila: Key Quotes, Act 1, part 3

'I told them 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'- using status to get her way 

'I was in a furious temper'

'It was my own fault'

'At least I'm trying to tell the truth. I expect you've done things you're ashamed of too.- her honesty shows her integrity 

'Don't you understand? And if I could help me now, I would-'

'Oh shut up Eric. I know, I know'

'And I'll never, never do it again to anybody.'

'(laughs rather hysterically) Why- you fool- he knows. Of course he knows'

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Sheila: Key Quotes, Act 2

'It can't be any worse for me than it has been. And it might be better.'

'So that's what you think I'm really like'

'And if you'd really loved me, you couldn't have said that'

'Now you've made up your mind I must obviously be a selfish vindictive creature'

'Don't please- I know, I know- and I can't stop thinking about it'

'And I know I'm to blame- and I'm desperately sorry- but I can't believe- I won't believe- it's simply my fault that in the end she- she commited suicide'

'I'm afraid you'll say something or do something that you'll be sorry for afterwards'

'But, Mother, do stop before it's too late'

'(rather wildly, with laugh) No he's giving us the rope- so that we'll hang ourselves'

'It was obvious from the start. Go on Gerald. Don't mind mother'

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Sheila: Key Quotes, Act 2, part 2

'Yes, but why are you saying that to him? You ought to be saying it to me'

'(cutting in, as he hesitates)'

'And I'm not a child, don't forget. I've a right to know'

'You were the wonderful fairy prince'- Gerald is using what he can get from Eva

'That's probably the best thing you've said tonight. At least it is honest'

'And it was my fault really that she was so desperate when you first met her'

'Don't interfere, please, Father'

'It means that we've no excuse now for putting on airs'

'No, no please! Not that again. I've imagined it enough already'

'No! Oh- horrible- horrible! How could she have wanted to kill herself- when she finds out Eva was pregnant

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Sheila: Key Quotes, Act 2, part 3

'(with feeling) Mother, I think it was cruel and vile.'

'Now mother don't you see'- dramatic irony as audience know Eric is the father but characters don't

'Mother, I begged and begged you to stop'

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Sheila: Key Quotes, Act 3

'(bitterly) I know. I had her turned out of her job. I started it'

'(who is crying quietly)'

'Sheila is still quietly crying'

'I behaved badly too. I know I did. I'm ashamed of it. But now you're beginning all over again to pretend nothing much has happened-'

'The point is you haven't semed to have learnt anything'

'It's you two who are being childish- trying not to face the facts'

'And it's what they don't seem to understand'

'You're just beginning to pretend all over again'

'And don't start dodging and pretending now. Between us we drove that girl to suicide'

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Sheila: Key Quotes, Act 3, part 2

'If it didn't end tragically, then that's lucky for us. But it might have done.'

'(passionately) You're pretending everything's just as it was before'

'You're ready to go on in the same old way' 

'Fire and blood and anguish. And it frightens me the way you talk, and I can't listen to any more of it'

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