Tennessee Williams Characteristics

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Abstract

Tennessee Williams has been regarded as the greatest Southern dramatist and one of the most distinguished playwrights in the history of American drama. He is undoubtedly the most renowned American dramatist of the second half of the 20th Century. This paper addresses and explores some of the main features of his dramatic works.
His drama was a lyric or poetic one, and that is why the critic and scholar Frank Durham referred to him as “Tennessee Williams, theater poet in prose”. When David Mamet describes William’s plays as “the greatest dramatic poetry in the American language”, he expresses the generally held opinion that Williams brought to the language of the American theater a lyricism unequaled before or after.
He infuses his dialogue with lyrical qualities so subtle that the reader or hearer, unaware, responds not to realistic speech but, instead, to speech heightened by such poetic effects as alliteration, rhythm, onomatopoeia, and assonance. As a Southern writer, Williams was attuned to the
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This search for an expressive concrete form, a form in harmony with the poetic vision became the leitmotiv that runs through all Williams’s works.
The most essential elements of the plastic theater employed by Tennessee in The Glass Menagerie were: the use of a screen where themes, titles and pictures were shown to the audience at critical moments which crepresented an attempt to bold symbolism; the use of a recurring musical motive which becomes a leitmotiv; the use of cinematic techniques; the use of lighting that appears unreal to allow for the memory-based format of the play; as well as the use of an unrealistic set and set pieces in a symbolic way that the focus is not on realism but on the truth of the human
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