Grace Nixon Dr. Brian Lewis English 2012 22 November 2015 Blanche DuBois: Hero or Villain? What came first, the chicken or the egg? With so many answers and different reasoning for each, this question can be extremely difficult to answer. While reading A Streetcar Named Desire, a play by Tennessee Williams dealing with the struggle of Blanche DuBois to fit in with an ever-changing society after losing her family home of Belle Reve, the reader may be left with a similarly challenging question to answer: is Williams sympathetic towards the character of Blanche, or does he condemn her character and behavior to make a statement to the larger audience about the effects of promiscuous actions? Many critics have sought to answer this question using …show more content…
Society looks down upon actions such as viewing others’ sexual features while you are already married, which makes the reader appalled by Stanley’s character and makes the reader feel an extreme hatred towards Stanley even before the action of the play has begun. This account of Stanley and his actions establishes him as the villain in the play, but, in any story, there is always a hero to contrast the villain. Typically, this hero is the exact opposite of the villain, and, in this play, although it may not be clearly defined, Blanche is set up by Williams in the beginning to be the hero. Williams does this by depicting her as the opposite of Stanley with her sense of propriety and class that is juxtaposed with the harsh environment of Stanley’s world (Williams 1119). Although the reader becomes aware that Blanche is not quite the hero that she was expected to be as they play progresses, the reader is always compelled to take Blanche’s side when injustices are brought upon her by Stanley due to Williams’ careful construction of Blanche and Stanley’s characters in the very beginning. Williams purposely sets the characters up like this in the reader’s mind for the sheer reason of soliciting sympathy for Blanche once trouble comes her way. Thus, it is clear that Williams has a compassionate view of Blanche, and he makes a concerted effort to show the reader this throughout …show more content…
It is clear through the way Williams describes how much Blanche loved Allan and explicitly says how it was her grief from his death that led her down the path of her actions that Blanche, at least in Williams’ eyes, was not merely getting “what she deserved,” as Lant argues, when she was raped by Stanley (Lant). Rather, Williams provides a deeper explanation for her actions in Allan’s death, which, because he takes the time to develop this explanation, shows his sympathy towards her. Even from the beginning, Williams sets up the character of Blanche to counter Stanley, who is described as a filthy, violent person and an obviously antagonistic element in the play, making Blanche the protagonist whom Williams wants the reader to form a deep connection with throughout the story. Knowing that Williams is sympathetic towards Blanche and would like the reader to be the same provides a deeper understanding of the play as a whole and where Williams was coming from when he wrote it by providing the reader with a sense of both Blanche’s function in the storyline and Williams’ attitude towards the society around him. Because Williams is sympathetic towards Blanche, it shows Williams is a person who thinks society too often judges people like Blanche
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It can be suggested that Williams demonstrates that power is something to be desired rather than purely a tool for control because the protagonist Blanche is shown to be a symbol of vulnerability. At the exposition, Blanche is dialogue would suggest a sense of vulnerability when she says, “I’ve got to keep hold of myself.” This vulnerability would be detected by audiences because it suggests that Blanche seemingly has no control over her situation or the fears that seem to be oppressing themselves upon her. This demonstrates that power is presented by Williams as something to be desired because Blanche’s almost despondent tone suggests that she needs to have some power to replace this vulnerability and weakness. Furthermore, it is the use of
Stanley is a blunt, practical, and animalistic man who has no patience for subtleties and refinement. His animalistic character shows the moment he meets Blanche, when he, moving with “animalistic joy” (24), “sizes” Blanche up with “sexual classifications” and “crude image” in his mind (25). Under his stare, Blanche draws “involuntarily back” (25), a movement that foreshadows their later conflict and her subsequent demise. His practical and straightforward side shows when he interrogates Blanche about the sale of Belle Reve to make sure that his wife is not swindled. His straightforward, practical nature makes him “boom” out of impatience (46) and demands Blanche to cut straight to the point when she tries to talk in an indirect, subtle manner as befit a Southern gentlewoman.
However the main conflict is Blanche’s inability to accept reality or her inability to let go of her past. Blanche sees herself above her sister’s life and carries a sense of entitlement that no longer fits her environment like it did in her past. Underneath, Blanche is a liar and Stanley is not. Stanley and Stella are able to able to admit what they are while Blanche is constantly trying to hide who she is. She is unable to come to her desire and sees herself superior to the people around her.
Blanche is projecting the self-image of a person who believes that they are above others. She acts as though she is of a royal family and demands the respect of everyone around her. She loses her family's home to the government and blames it on her sister who left in order to search for her own lifestyle. From the beginning of her visit, Blanche gets an off feeling about Stanley. When she arrives, he starts to stare at her with a sense of caution then soon begins inspecting the paperwork that she brought with her in order to validate her story.
She is, by far, in opposition with the theme of purity, the author reveals that Blanche is a liar. Indeed she is saying that she has been hiring from her job, which is not the truth. Blanche is one the most interesting character in the story because she does not fit to some gender stereotypes, this difference makes her attractive and
This is made clear through Stanley’s insecurities about inferiority to women and his prolonged struggle to defeat Blanche. Again, this is evident with Blanche and even Stella. Stella is perceived as a static character with no real individuality, and Blanche, who is seemingly more independent, is characterized mostly by her sexuality. Tennessee Williams demonstrates society’s need for the superiority of men to women through the interactions of Stanley and Blanche in the play, their struggles, and their ultimate
In Blanche and Stanley’s initial interactions, there was an air of sexual tension. This tension dissipates completely as the play progresses, and their relationship turns into a resentful and hateful one. Throughout the play, Stanley has several violent outbursts towards Stella that worry Blanche. This allows Stanley to assert dominance over both women. At the end of the play, Stanley releases his pent up anger and frustration toward Blanche through a sexual attack.
Both Blanche's family and Belle Reve represent her dream to indulge in a sophisticated, high class, and luxurious life. When all of Blanche’s family dies and Stella leaves, Blanche loses the first piece of her “beautiful dream.” She no longer has the money to support herself, since her educational career provides insufficient funds. After the tragic loss of her husband, Blanche loses Belle Reve and loses her job, symbolizing that her “beautiful dream” has been fully crushed and the only remnants of her dream are the lies she feeds herself. This fall of social class leads Blanche to carry a tone of classism.
Blanche acts as if her life is not falling apart and carries herself as the same girl from Belle Reve. She carries herself as the most sophisticated, classy, pure and innocent than everyone else, however later within the play the readers witness Blanche’s true nature. A promiscuous, manipulative, former aristocrat with a poorly hidden drinking problem. “She springs up and crosses to it, and removes a whiskey bottle. She pours a half tumbler of whiskey and tosses it down.
A streetcar named desire was written by Tennessee Williams in 1947, in purpose to show the “declining of the upper class and the domination of the bourgeois middle class in the U.S.A. where the south agriculture class could not compete with the industrialization.” Blanche Dubois the protagonist of our story, a southern beauty that is trapped by the restrictive laws of her society. But she broke them, and eventually put herself in a state, where she had no job and no house. So she had to go to her sister, Stella and live with her and her sister’s husband, Stanley. While staying there, she created a façade for her to hide her flaws and kept acting as a lady, where she is anything but that.
Not only has Tennesse Williams portrayed Stella and Blanche to be seen as delicate and dependent, our own society has created this image but this not only affects how individuals see themselves but affects relationships immensely. Tennessee Williams reinforces the stereotype in which women are often the victims of unfortunate fate within the usage of the character Blanche. Throughout the whole play, we have witnessed Blanche being on the bitter end of life's miseries as she has encountered the tough loss of Belle Reve, dealing with her ex-husband's suicide and the loss of her relationship with Mitch. Arguably, the expectations and beliefs of women were either to be a housewife or a mother, whereas Blanche shows neither, as a result of automatically feeling out of place possibly leading to her downfall. Blanche was constantly fantasizing about the traditional values of a southern gentlemen, proving her dependence on this sex.
In A Streetcar Named Desire, the author Tennessee Williams exaggerates and dramatizes fantasy’s incapability to overcome reality through an observation of the boundary between Blanches exterior and interior conveying the theme that illusion and fantasy are often better than reality. Blanche, who hides her version of the past, alters her present and her relationship with her suitor Mitch and her sister, Stella. Blanche was surrounded by death in her past, her relatives and husband have passed away, leaving her with no legacy left to continue. The money has exhausted; the values are falling apart and she is alienated and unable to survive in the harsh reality of modern society. Throughout the novel Williams juxtaposed Blanche’s delusions with
During this time men brought in the money for the household, while the mother’s would stay at home and watch over the children of the family. With this came a sense of pride and authority for the men. Throughout the film Stanley continually abuses Blanche and even goes to the extreme of raping her. He depicts an animal-like man with no awareness of morals. When he gets angry he has no control of his reactions and results to physical violence.
To Blanche, Stanley originally comes off as appealing however once he rapes her, he becomes monstrous in her eyes. On the contrary, Blanche is not exactly humane as well. Blanche is the extreme version of how a female was represented in the mid-1900s, but takes crazy too far. As opposed to helping Blanche deal with the world, her fantasizing is more destructive then helpful. Stanley’s violent rape of Blanche is a wake up call from her fantasy life, the final straw in her mental decline, leading to her