The themes of violence and power in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ hold an important role in the criticism of 1940s American society. Conflicts perpetuated by violence and power, such as abusive relationships and violent oppression are projected through the characters within the play. Williams uses these conflicts to highlight his criticisms of faltering values and social norms, from the perspective of an individual constrained by the expectations of a strict, Southern society.
To begin with, there is an indefinite violence between men and women within ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’. Stanley Kowalski, a focal character, is the epitome of male dominance and primitive aggression. He is verbally and physically abusive towards his wife, Stella, in order to establish his power over her. He is described as giving a ‘loud whack of his hand on her thigh’ to which she merely retaliates ‘That’s not fun, Stanley.’ Whilst ‘the men laugh’. This shows how abusive behaviour towards women is normalised and accepted within this patriarchal society as the men simply choose to ‘laugh’ along with Stanley. It also highlights Stella’s submissive nature, and how she conforms to the sexist societal expectations of a helpless and fragile woman. Although the surrounding male characters disregard Stanley’s abuse, the audience is repulsed by it and identifies it as morally wrong. This shows how Williams is criticising the acceptance of this abusive behaviour in society, using Stella’s dilemma as a victim to plea for a change. Stanley is even abusive when displaying his …show more content…
This is most evident between the characters Stanley and Blanche. Stanley states ‘The Kowalskis and the Dubois have different notions.’ The diversity of their backgrounds is shown by their surnames; ‘Dubois’ represents a seemingly aristocratic, southern belle, whilst ‘Kowalski’ is reminiscent of a working-class minority, alien to
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After having been performed at the Ethel Barrymore Theater in 1946, A Streetcar Named Desire brought about much controversy. At first it seemed that much of the controversy stemmed from the unpleasantness with which the subject was presented, such as the vulgar, unprecedented topics acted out on stage. George Jean Nathan, an original critic of the play, touched upon the vulgar manner of the drama, calling it “The Glands Menagerie.” (Bak, “Criticism on a Streetcar Named Desire”) Perhaps the more pressing reason as to why this play was received controversially, however, is a result of its cynical nature.
In the play A Streetcar Named Desire written by Tennessee Williams, the main character, Blanche DuBois, travels to New Orleans to stay with her sister, Stella, and Stella’s husband, Stanley Kowalski. Throughout the play, sexulaity is seen as a strong motivator for many of the characters actions. Early in the play, Stanley is introduced as a particularly sexual character, “ Since earliest manhood the center of his life has been pleasure with women, the giving and taking of it, not with weak indulgence... He sizes women up with a glance, with sexual classifications…” (Williams 25).
Although being written centuries apart, the limited expectations of women presented in ‘Othello’ and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ differ little from each other. The female characters are confined by society’s expectations of male dominance, female purity and virginity, and the many passive roles of women. Despite the differing legalities surrounding the position of women between the centuries in which the plays were written, both plays explore the impact of how societal conventions confine women and the ways they must comply to be safe in a patriarchal society. The behaviours and treatments of Desdemona, Blanche and Stella illustrate the attitudes enforced on and the behaviours of women throughout both periods in time and it is these attitudes and behaviours that impact the plays to the greatest extent. When characters in either plays defy their norms, or demonstrate a lack of compliance they induce negative consequences, such as the murder of Desdemona and the institutionalisation of Blanche.
Stereotypical gender roles have existed as long as human culture has, becoming a natural part of all of our lives. Within each gender lies a variety of stereotypes and expectations. Most notably for men they are often depicted as tough and the family provider. Whereas women are often shown to be soft and vulnerable. Throughout the play A Streetcar Named Desire the author; Tennessee Williams illustrates the main characters, Stanley, Stella, Mitch and Blanche with these stereotypes.
Thesis: Light is symbolic of realism or to put it cruder the ugly reality. Darkness is symbolic of fantasy or the fabrication created by characters. Introduction: Throughout the play and film adaptation of, A Streetcar Named Desire, we view the main characters progression throughout the thought provoking story.
That is why he hates Blanche because she is not the same as the girls he has seen. He sees her as a threat in the sense that she will ruin the marriage between Stella and Stanley. However, he has feelings of self conscious and feels threatened because he feels like she can ruin him. He hates that Stella and Blanche were always wealthy and he feels as if they look down on him for being poor. He does not feeling submissive which is why he reacts harshly most of the time.
Stanley is a blunt, practical, and animalistic man who has no patience for subtleties and refinement. His animalistic character shows the moment he meets Blanche, when he, moving with “animalistic joy” (24), “sizes” Blanche up with “sexual classifications” and “crude image” in his mind (25). Under his stare, Blanche draws “involuntarily back” (25), a movement that foreshadows their later conflict and her subsequent demise. His practical and straightforward side shows when he interrogates Blanche about the sale of Belle Reve to make sure that his wife is not swindled. His straightforward, practical nature makes him “boom” out of impatience (46) and demands Blanche to cut straight to the point when she tries to talk in an indirect, subtle manner as befit a Southern gentlewoman.
A streetcar named desire was written by Tennessee Williams in 1947, in purpose to show the “declining of the upper class and the domination of the bourgeois middle class in the U.S.A. where the south agriculture class could not compete with the industrialization.” Blanche Dubois the protagonist of our story, a southern beauty that is trapped by the restrictive laws of her society. But she broke them, and eventually put herself in a state, where she had no job and no house. So she had to go to her sister, Stella and live with her and her sister’s husband, Stanley. While staying there, she created a façade for her to hide her flaws and kept acting as a lady, where she is anything but that.
A Streetcar Named Desire Literary Analysis The late 1940’s were characterized by the emergence out of World War II that led to a dependence on the idea of The American Dream, which meant men were working harder to achieve a more comforting lifestyle and opportunity while women were still fighting the oppression of caused by unequal representation. This idealistic dream is illustrated throughout Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire”, which has a rigid dichotomy between illusion and reality revealed throughout multiple characters and their dysfunctional lives that are a direct result between fantasy and actuality. Illusion is taken advantage of as an alternative to the unfair circumstances that the characters in “A Streetcar Named
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
Playwright Tennessee Williams once said “a symbol in a play has only one legitimate purpose which is to say a thing more directly and simply and beautifully than it could be said in words”. He seems to take his own advice to heart when writing such a thought provoking play as A Streetcar Named Desire. While Williams makes extensive use of symbols in Streetcar, the use of animals and animal-like characteristics as a symbol are constantly used to define Stanley Kowalski’s character and convey his desires as primal and ferine. Stanley has the first line in the play and is immediately characterized by Williams with the use of his stage direction “bellowing” (Williams 244; sc. 1). Like a wild animal, Stanley has a desire for unrefinement and
The Fight for Dominance In today’s society, gender norms convince men that unless they are able to control women, they are weak. Considered the inferior gender, women must find new ways to prove their own strength, whether it be through manipulation or their sexuality. The battle between the two continues as men strive to remain dominant, often by immoral means, and women attempt to gain the upper hand. In the screenplay, “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams, the sexual tension and struggle for dominion between Blanche and Stanley is evident, and as the play continues, Blanche's promiscuity and Stanley's predatory nature foreshadow an inevitable confrontation.
“A Streetcar Named Desire” is a very elegant film in which the Southern gothic culture is demonstrated profoundly. Tennessee Williams uses the characters in the play to bring about a sense of how corrupt society truly was in the 1940’s in the South. The 1940’s was marked by an immense amount of violence, alcoholism, and poverty. Women at the time were treated as objects rather than people. Throughout the play Tennessee Williams relates the aspects of Southern society to the characters in the play.
Tennessee Williams wrote “A Streetcar Named Desire” (Williams, 1947) It is based in New Orleans a new cosmopolitan city which is poor but has raffish charm. The past is representing old south in America 1900’s and present is representing new America post world war 2 in 1940’s. Past and present are intertwined throughout the play in the characters Stanley, Blanche, Stella and mitch. Gender roles show that males are the dominant and rule the house which Stanley is prime example as he brings home food and we learn of one time when he got cross and he smashed the light bulbs.
Stella’s sister, Blanche, sees through the illusion and can see how toxic the marriage really is. Stanley and Blanche come from distinctly different backgrounds, Stanley is from the working class while Blanche comes from wealth. Williams uses these two contrasting points of views on marriage, to show the issues of possessiveness, class, and sexism. When it comes to Stanley’s marriage to Stella, one of the most notable characteristics is how possessive Stanley is. An example of this is when Stanley found out that Blanche and therefore Stella, lost their estate.