Streetcar Named Desire Essay

1651 Words7 Pages
Riley McManus
Thea 327
Dr. Malloy
27 April 2018
Ponderings on Power Past and Present Tennessee Williams’ famous play was an instant success on Broadway and ran for 855 performances. However, before this wildly successful run, it began in previews outside of New York. This tryout process garnered the focus that the production needed to be as successful as it was, and the reception it received upon its opening on Dec. 3, 1947 was glowing. The show was and continues to be a masterpiece of the American Theatre, but it was not received so lovingly everywhere. When it premiered in London under the direction of Laurence Olivier it was called, “the progress of a prostitute, the flight of a nymphomaniac, the ravings of a sexual neurotic” by Logan Gourlay
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. . he is also an expression of the brutality and social banality reduced to positivist tendencies” (53). To her mind, Stanley’s sexuality, for all its power and vivacity, is merely a function of the basic bestial, animal aspect of society. This lower class sexual expression is precisely what threatens to trample Blanche’s old southern identity. Blanche is powerless to stop his attack on her past by way of the present. The façade of the old south is shorn under him, and we are left with a dirty, working class idea of southern identity, as Stanley bends Blanche to his…show more content…
This is due to the play’s inherent truth and its Americanness. Furthermore, the play is emblematic of a larger shift in the southern American identity, specifically via the characters Stanley Kowalski and Blanche Dubois. Blanche represents the flawed ideals of a bygone age, and Stanley is the brash, sweaty future that is irreverent of its past and who lives completely in the present. Williams uses light, sound, and poetic diction to weave his narrative, yet through the magic of its construction the idea of old against new shines, and he captures the struggle of this monumental cultural shift in the physical, mental, and emotional struggle between Blanche and
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