Married to Arthur. Mother of Sheila and Eric. Priestley has her ‘about fifty, a rather cold woman,’ and crucially she’s her husband’s ‘social superior.’ Sybil is similar to Mr Birling as she’s a woman of public influence, sitting on charity organisations and having been married two years ago to the Lord Mayor.
She is the only one of all the Birlings to almost completely resist the Inspector’s attempts to make her realise her responsibilities. She protects what she perceives to be the family’s good image and standing in the community.
‘Arthur, you’re not supposed to say such things.’.
‘When you’re married, you’ll realise that men with important work to do sometimes have to spend all their time and energy on their business. You …
‘Girls of that class’
‘I did nothing I’m ashamed of.’.
‘I didn’t like her manner. She impertinently made use of our name.’.
‘You know of course that my husband was Lord Mayor only two years ago.’.
‘He’s only a boy.’
‘I blame the young man. He ought to be dealt with very severely’
‘She was claiming elaborate fine feelings and scruples that were simply absurd in a girl in her position’