Sheila’s character has changed so much from before when she didn’t really care with everybody else’s life that now she not only assumes her responsibility on what happened and give the others a moral lesson, she also tries to protect the others from their own blindness of ignorance, like her mother when she is trying to push her responsibility to the father of the child that Eva Smith was carrying and only Sheila understands that the father of the child is Eric, so she says: “Oh, please mother, stop – stop! ” “Don’t you see?
” It is obvious to Sheila that all of them are involved in some way or another, but this is not so obvious for her mother that tries push her responsibility away also by accusing Eva Smith of using a name that wasn’t hers but this was actually about Mrs. Birling having her pride hurt by Eva Smith using Mrs. Birling as a false name, which didn’t make the ‘real’ Mrs. Birling very happy and uses that to try to put the blame away from her saying that Eva Smith lied but so did she. Mrs. Birling would not confess that she was being prejudist when denied Eva Smith’s case, even when Mr. Birling, her own husband, realizes it and starts to worry about the scandal, as usual.
When the ‘whole story’ is done in between the family, the older Birlings start to discuss it and argue about who should be blamed the Inspector says that they “will have time to share the responsibility between” them after he say what he needs to say, and Birling comes with all of his materialist thoughts saying “I’d thousands” to Eva Smith in the beginning when she first asked for money, and then he could maybe save Eva Smith and his family from the scandal, which is all that he thinks about and he makes it evident when they find out that the Inspector wasn’t a real inspector, and, of course, he is delighted to know that the death of Eva Smith never happened, when Eric and Sheila that are the only ones who learned the lesson try to show them they shouldn’t feel any better he says: “They’re so dammed exasperating” “They just wont try to understand our position” because he is pleased with himself again like he was in the beginning “We were all feeling so pleased with ourselves” and he finishes thinking that Sheila and Eric are “the famous youngster generation who know it all”. Mr. Birling, Mrs. Birling and Gerald react fairly in the same way to the ‘announcement’ of the Inspector being a hoax.
But Sheila and Eric who are the ones that understand what the Inspector was all about go completely against them, as Sheila makes clear when she says bitterly: “I suppose we are nice people now” and Eric reminds the older Birlings of their acts “I did what I did, and mother did what she did”, nobody has been save from the responsibility of their acts, and Sheila could not forget what everyone in that house did once to a girl, named Eva Smith, Daisy Renton or whatever name, they were people that had been threat in some way or another for every single one them, which is what Mr. Birling doesn’t care about anymore, and asks Sheila to forget everything that has been said and accept Gerald’s ring back what she doesn’t do because she knows it would be wrong, her character changed so much and her parents don’t realize it and still treat her and Eric (that changed his character as well) as children, and try to patronize them as they used to do before. Sheila changed from a selfish, spoiled, excited, newly engaged girl, into a caring, responsible and open-minded person. Out of all the Birlings, and Gerald Croft, Sheila changes the most.
She learns from the Inspector, and understands the purpose of his visit – To warn them of what will happen if they do not change their ways. In his final speech, the inspector says, “If men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish. ” The Inspector is the voice of Priestley in this play, and Sheila who is the one that is never going to forget the Inspector’s words “Fire, blood and anguish”. She points out to her parents and Gerald that there are moral considerations which should be more important than superficial worries about status and public embarrassment, trying to make them realize that it can be real, and if they don’t learn now, they will to taught again and again till the day they change the way they act towards other people.
It is evident throughout the play that Sheila demonstrates far more compassion for human life, and a lot less prejudice over class boundaries than her parents or Gerald, and she is more conscientious than any other one of them. The events of the play obviously affected her, and she has learned from the evening with the Inspector where the others have not about the way she should treat other people, especially those whom she might previously have considered ‘lower’ than her. o