Delia is portrayed as a highly emotional, overly dramatic person. Her desire to succeed as a modern artist drives her to be a social climber, though it is clear by the reactions of others that she is not taken seriously. She is also a perfectionist, constantly criticizing her husband Charles, and her step-daughter Lydia for being a Goth and for constantly complaining. Delia is very self-centered and puts her own interests before her husband and step-daughter.
Her self-interest causes her to be fairly oblivious to what's going on around her. Her desire to completely modernize and remodel the country home her husband is content with is distressing to him, which goes totally over her head.
Throughout the film Delia does not appear to understand humor. Every time people around her laugh Delia looks momentarily stricken, then she looks around to confirm that something funny just happened, then she finally joins in with a fake little chuckle.
When Delia discovers that their home is haunted, she sees it as an opportunity to capitalize on by inviting an art dealer to dinner whose wife is interested in the paranormal. She shows little to no concern for the free will of the Maitlands, and makes off-handed and callous remarks about suicidal people spending the afterlife as civil servants.
It isn't until she sees the Maitlands suffering after Otho uses "The Handbook for the Recently Deceased" to exorcise them that she realizes the harm she is doing. Beetlejuice brings Delia's sculptures to life and they imprison she and her husband. They helplessly watch in horror as Beetlejuice tries to force Lydia to marry him, and she is grateful to the Maitlands when they rescue her and banish Beetlejuice.
After this incident Delia is shown to be content to share the house with the Maitlands, even using her experience with Beetlejuice as the basis for a sculpture that is far more intricate than her former work. She uses this same sculpture to prank Charles, indicating that she is developing a sense of humor.
Delia Deetz from the Animated Series
For more information of the animated version of this character go to the animated article.