A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE Tennessee Williams is one of America’s greatest playwrights. He is considered to be the greatest ever from the South. He wrote huge amount of fiction and motion picture screenplays, but he is known primarily for his play. Nearly all of them are set in the South. A streetcar named desire is his best drama work which is famous all around the world. I have to admit that before starting to read this drama, I knew very little about this author. As I read his biography I found out that he was living a very dynamic lifestyle, full of different experiences which he encountered during his traveling around the country.
Firstly I will begin to analyze the characters. There are four main characters: Blanche Dubois – the central character of the play. She is fragile, neurotic, overly sensitive and overly proud of her aristocratic background. She lives partly in her own bit of imagination trying to find desperately a piece of her own place in the world. Her life from the early beginnings is marked by unmerciful experiences, either her first tragic marriage or the gradual death of her relatives resulting to the end of the Dubois family wealth. She lives in an illusory world in order to shield her promiscuity. She is dreaming of being married to a “perfect man“. She is cast away from the society because of her behavior and she leaves her town and heads straight out to New Orleans unfilled with love, to go find protection near her sister Stella. Stella Kowalski - Blanche's younger sister. A simple, fair-minded woman, pregnant with her first child. Stella has made a new life for herself in New Orleans. She is a figure of silent suffering. She is in deep love with her aggressive husband Stanley. This relationship is somewhat different from ordinary. There is a lack of passion and warmth. The cornerstone of this relationship is made out of direct and primitive kind of desire. Stanley Kowalski - Stella's cynic husband. He is direct, passionate and often very aggressive. He is a domineering and possessive man. He represents everything that a boisterous life can offer. He demands servility from his wife. He feels threatened and uncomfortable with the arrival of Blanche. He has no patience for Blanche. He demonstrates his recklessness and primitiveness on her. The final step towards her “destruction“ is her ravishment. Harold "Mitch" Mitchell – He is Stanley’s best friend. He has some of the characteristics like Stanley, but he is also deeply sensitive, caring and compassionate. Blanche attracted him from the beginning and he wanted to marry her. Unfortunately Stanley told Mitch everything about Blanche’s past and Mitch cruelly rejected her.
The story takes place from the spring time to the beginning of autumn in New Orleans. Blanche comes to the town to find the meaning of life near her sister. The whole story is about the mutual relationships between Blanche, Stella, Stanley and Mitch. Blanche, during her stay in sister‘s apartment, feels that she is unwelcomed by Stanley, who feels very insecure having her near him. She is aware of Stanley’s primitiveness and tries to interfere in their relationship by persuading Stella to go live a new life without Stanley, but Stella is blindfolded and is very closely attached to him. Blanche is also drawn to him on some level. Stanley’s last dreadful attacks on Blanche are, his interference between her upcoming relationship between her and Mitch, and the cruel ravishment. After this Blanch looses her total sanity.
Stella is very closely linked to her sister Blanche. She understands her problems and her attitude towards life, but she is manipulated by Stanley because of her deep love for him and she contributes to the suffering of her sister.As I mentioned before, primitive desire, and not intellectual or spiritual intimacy, is the heart of Stella's and Stanley's relationship. Desire is Stella‘s undoing. She is stuck in herself and can’t find a way out. At the end Stella is manipulated by Stanley and she has to silently agree, even though she internally disagrees, to send Blanche to a madhouse. Blanche’s relationship to Mitch is looking good from the start, as I mentioned before, Blanche attracted Mitch from the beginning and he wanted to marry her. Blanche wanted to share her love with Mitch too. Later though Stanley told Mitch the whole truth about Blanche’s past and he refused her love for ever.
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Tennessee Williams: A Streetcar Named Desire
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