Corruption In The Glass Menagerie

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Another way familial corruption is caused by the absence of fathers is portrayed by Shakespeare and Williams is through the characterization of the family members left behind. In The Glass Menagerie, Amanda Wingfield lives in the shadow of her past and is obsessed with the idea of gentlemen callers for her daughter. This concern for her daughter is rooted more in Amanda’s own interest, however, and has a detrimental effect on their relationship. “Once we analyse how Amanda manipulates maternity, a factor more fundamental than nostalgia will begin to emerge. This principle is self-consciousness.” (Levy). The abandonment of her husband leaves Amanda in a state of fear that her son will “abandon her as her wayward husband did” and she will be…show more content…
All Tom’s attempts to care for his sister and his mother ultimately fail, including his bringing of a gentlemen caller for Laura to dinner. The gentleman caller, which Laura actually was quite fond of, was engaged and unable to be the man the Mrs. Wingfeild and Laura were hoping for. “The dinner’s disastrous outcome le[eft] Tom certain that unless he makes his own way into the world, their neediness will devour him.” (Teachout 60.) And so, at the close of the play Tom abandons his family just as his father did. Laura, though not as obviously, also embodies her absent father. She and Tom both have “inherited this man’s spiritual essence in that, for better or for worse, they perpetuate his escapism, his discomfort with the ordinary, for something it does not provide.” (Greiff 1). Like Tom’s pacification in the movie theatre, Laura spends most of her time playing her Vitrola records and tending to her menagerie of crystalline animals. “Although Laura never speaks of her father, she pays him silent yet meaningful tribute through a ritual of emulation. The Vitrola records which give background music to Laura’s fragile and beautiful world are her father’s legacy.” ( Greiff 2). Her obsessive playing of these records conveys an internal madness and separation anxiety left behind by her father. Through these elements, the familial…show more content…
Not only do they feature corrupted families that many can connect with, but embody the depraved state of every human soul in separation from God. “Indeed, the venerable tradition of dramatizing family strife transcends cultures and predates Shakespeare’s Hamlet, even going back to the drama of Aeschylus.” Crisis of the heart within the immediate family provides an empathetic and cathartic experience for the audience that “virtually anyone can identify with.” (Bray X). Because every person carries an intrinsic longing for reconnection with their Creator, it is no surprise that Shakespeare and Williams have created artistic masterpieces that display the corruption that has existed since the Garden of Eden and for
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