Blanche Dubois Hero Or Villain

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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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