Theme Of Sexuality In Tennessee Williams A Streetcar Named Desire

1534 Words7 Pages

Society of Tennessee Williams’ time saw sexuality as a part of ourselves that should be suppressed because of it’s destructive nature. Throughout A Streetcar Named Desire Williams showcases his characters in this anti-sex society. He shows them in this society, not to praise it, but instead to highlight the negative effects of existing in such a world. Through the actions and consequences his characters face in conforming to societies’ standards Williams manages to communicate a story that condemns society for keeping people from expressing their sexuality and from being stable, whole and sexual human beings. Expressing sexuality or sexual desires leads the play 's characters to death or to ruin, the suppression of desire is destructive and …show more content…

Blanche’s suppression begins after Allen’s death. For Blanche his death opened up a floodgate of fear and desire which she could not manage. After Allen’s death Blanche was filled with fear, fear that she would end up alone and become a spinster. This panic "drove [her] from one [man] to another, hunting for some protection”(117). As well Blanche states that when she met her husband, she “made the discovery-love. All at once and much, much too completely” (95). Blanche made the discovery of her desire for the first time, but this hunger could not be satisfied. Her husband’s death and his homosexuality kept her from feeling what it is to be desired and, in turn feeling desire. Her sexual desires which at first had been denied by her husband 's death were now denied by her need to find a husband. As she no longer owned Belle Reve, which afforded her some social status, her only means of tempting suitors was through her sexuality and her fading looks. Blanche’s knowledge that she must attract men with her physical body is shown when she tries to get Mitch 's attention by undressing in the light so that he can see the outline of her body “Blanche moves back into the streak of light. She raises her arms and stretches, as she moves indolently back to the chair” (88). However, her sexual encounters quickly gained her a reputation that prevented many …show more content…

Overall, A Streetcar Named Desire is showing the downfalls of not expressing sexuality while doing the rare thing of showcasing sexuality in the context of a society that dismissed and condemned it. Tennessee Williams was a gay man who knew the frustration of living in a time period that demanded his sexuality be repressed. Through the play, he communicates how high a price individuals had to pay for expressing their desires. In Blanche’s case, her expression of sexuality led to her being committed to a mental institute, and in Allen Grey’s case death. Despite this Williams also imparts to his audience the negative impacts of disguising one 's sexuality behind the guise of what is considered normal and proper. This is presented by Blanches descent into madness due to her inability to act properly on her sexual urges. Lastly, Williams demonstrates how Blanche is not at fault for not knowing how to act on her desires. She was brought up in a world that told her that expressing her sexuality or even having sexual desires was wrong, she never learned how to deal with desire. This is why A Streetcar Named Desire should not be dismissed as a cautionary tale that warns individuals not to embrace desires. On the contrary, this is a story that blames society for not allowing people to openly express their sexuality and act of their most primal of

Show More
Open Document