Animals In Streetcar Named Desire

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Playwright Tennessee Williams once said “a symbol in a play has only one legitimate purpose which is to say a thing more directly and simply and beautifully than it could be said in words”. He seems to take his own advice to heart when writing such a thought provoking play as A Streetcar Named Desire. While Williams makes extensive use of symbols in Streetcar, the use of animals and animal-like characteristics as a symbol are constantly used to define Stanley Kowalski’s character and convey his desires as primal and ferine. Stanley has the first line in the play and is immediately characterized by Williams with the use of his stage direction “bellowing” (Williams 244; sc. 1). Like a wild animal, Stanley has a desire for unrefinement and …show more content…

1). Williams states that he takes with “the power and pride of a richly feathered bird among hens”(265; sc. 1). This comparison to animals portrays Stanley as the alpha male in this story. He views woman as objects and his sexual desires are strong and primitive. Whenever he fights with Stella, the “things that happen between a man and women in the dark… make everything else seem – unimportant” (321; sc.4). In other words, Stella is very aware that her sexual relationship with Stanley can help her sort out any problems between them. Also, shortly before Stanley rapes Blanche, Williams says in the stage directions that there were “inhuman voices like cries in the jungle” (399; sc. 10). Blanche, which means white wood, is out of her element in this jungle of Stanley’s and it is she, who once called Stanley “bestial” (322; sc. 4) and “sub-human” (323; sc. 4), who has now found herself being stalked and charged like prey being hunted by an animal. With his sister-in-law present, Stanley has been unable to fulfill his sexual desires and so he releases them out on Blanche. The rape can also be seen as Stanley asserting his dominance over Blanche as she has taken his wife’s attention away from him long

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