How does Priestley presents different forms of love in the play?
At the beginning of the play, Sheila and Gerald’s relationship is unbalanced because Gerald sees himself as the dominant one, and is controlling. Sheila is naïve, quite immature for her age and impressionable. Gerald chose and bought the engagement ring for Sheila, without her having any say about it, and she just accepts that without questioning Gerald. She says ‘Is this one you wanted me to have?’ which connotes her willingness to be controlled. The audience realises how materialistic their relationship is as they value power and money above anything else. Sheila says ‘I think its prefect. Now I really feel engaged’ which seems an innocent enough statement, but suggests underneath that the relationship is quite shallow as only then when ring (a sign of wealth) was present makes Sheila feel properly engaged.
Gerald also manipulates Sheila by saying he was ‘awfully busy at the works at the time’ when he was asked about him never coming near Sheila last summer. Truthfulness of the characters are tested when Sheila responds to Gerald’s explanation with a …show more content…
When she first hears of Eva Smith’s suicide her reaction is ‘Oh - how horrible!’ This is an immediate and genuine response to the suffering of another human being and from this we see she can be sympathetic towards those less fortunate than herself. This also emphasizes her innocence as she fails to understand how someone could drink a fatal disinfectant “by accident”, and shows she can’t imagine someone not having a lot to live for. She is also the first person to show a sense of responsibility as she understands that girls like Eva Smith “aren’t cheap labour - they’re people”. She responds to the girl as a person, not as “cheap labour” and criticizes her