The main character of the Peaky Blinders series, Tommy Shelby (played by Cillian Murphy), leads a powerful gang based in Birmingham in the UK after the events of World War I. Throughout the show, he is shown to be an independent, stoic, and ruthless boss, but he is actually full of secrets and curiosities that have caught all viewers, such as his tattoo in the form of sunbeams.
As ruthless as Tommy Shelby can be towards his enemies, he often has a kind and loving side, as he showed towards his wife Grace (played by Annabelle Wallis) in the early seasons of Peaky Blinders. But, one of the things that expressed the dual side of him is through a tattoo on his left chest in the form of sunbeams.
As revealed by the designer of Tommy Shelby’s tattoo, the sun’s rays designed in a circular array on his left chest are inspired by a real-life tattoo, which would normally have the religious figure of Jesus in the middle of the rays. Although Jesus is left out of the tattoo, it is a choice that speaks to Tommy’s views on religion and faith, as well as potentially alludes to his life of crime.
However, some fans also think that the design is similar to the Roma wheel, which can be seen to represent Tommy’s Roma gypsy heritage and his desire to live a free life. But whatever the case may also explain why both his platonic and romantic relationships ended so badly.
Another part of the Peaky Blinders fans suggests that having a tattoo closer to his heart implies that he will not be bound by anything, not even marriage and love. As happened with her marriage to Lizzy (Natasha Dervill O’Keeffe), by informing her that he had no intention of remaining loyal to her, he would only remain as such under the roof of the same house and under her protection. .
Whatever the case, the reality is that Tommy Shelby’s tattoo on his left chest represents his loyalty to himself and the life he has chosen to lead for his family after the First World War that affected many of his friends and family.