Visual Elements In A Streetcar Named Desire

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In the conceptual arena of stage plays, elements such as lighting and set enhances the mood of the play through direct visual impacts; similarly, non-visual elements are also a significant part of theatrical works in terms of thematic dramatization and allowing the audience or readers more room for interpretation. In A Streetcar Named Desire, the use of non-visual elements on stage, namely the blue piano and the Polka tune, is significant in enhancing the mood of the play and establishing the layered personality of protagonist Blanche Dubois. From melody that intertwine with the stage directions to the protagonist 's poetic soliloquy that punctuate the dialogue like arias, Tennessee Williams ' skillful usage of non-visual elements in the…show more content…
The Blue Piano exposes Blanche’s vulnerable state and her insecurities, serving as a juxtaposition to the restless, flamboyant flirt she appeared to be. The Blue Piano 's representation of Blanche 's vulnerabilities is best embodied in its subsequent appearance in Scene II when Blanche was told about Stella 's pregnancy. In Scene II, upon hearing that Stella was going to have a baby, Blanche opened her eye as the blue piano sounded louder; the fact that her sister has successfully embarked on a new phase of life--formed her own family and now becoming a mother--left Blanche dazed as she "dreamily" (Williams, 23) gasped. The image of a normal, functional family made Blanche woke up to how she is the outsider of the scene as she desperately trying to cover up her vulnerable state of mind by giving Stella a "convulsive hug" (Williams, 24)--as she is evidently shaken in disbelief and soaked in depression. The diegetic scoring increased in volume to symbolize the character 's growing sense of…show more content…
The complexity of the protagonist 's personality and experiences could not be portrayed without these tunes, similarly, the effect of certain scenes could also diminish in the absence of music. Music, however, cannot act alone in the world of staged plays; text plays an imperative role. The double language of text and music provides a ideal outlet for Blanche 's fragmented character. Music and text: two distinct modes of discourse, each with its own potential for expression, rational or irrational, its own rules and conventions, to be followed or broken. (Rosand, 1991) The characterization of Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire enlists the power of both – two separate but simultaneous languages, working independently, yet intertwining with each other in stage directions, reinforcing and complementing one another.

In conclusion, the different musics correspond with the different aspects of the protagonist’s emotional anguish. The intangible nature of musical elements evidently thus allows a more fluid realm of interpretations, eventually contributing to the establishment of Blanche Dubois ' multifaceted, complex and layered personality in the case of A Streetcar

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