A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams Essay

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Street Car Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire, written by Tennessee Williams in 1947, has been called the best play ever written by an American. The geological setting of the play, New Orleans, creates a remarkably blended mood of decadence, nostalgia, and sensuality. The plot of the play comes about through the conflict between a man and his sister-in-law who comes to live at his house with he and his wife. Stanley Kowalski immediately captures the attention of the audience through Williams' excellent portrayal of the intensely strong willed character.

The portrayal of Stanley Kowalski plays a major role in the success of the play. Williams forms Stanley into an extremely masculine character who will always have his way or no
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Blanche appears as a character who may possibly jeopardize his position of authority in the household. Williams casts this image of excessive aggressiveness and cruelty upon Stanley not only to form the primary conflict which fully entangles itself in the plot of the play but also to force the reader to look at Stanley's character from different perspectives. In one sense, the audience sees Stanley as a character who commands respect and watches out for himself and his wife, while, in another light, he appears as an overbearing brute. "His cruel intolerance of Blanche can be seen as a justifiable response to her lies, hypocrisy, and mockery, but his nasty streak of violence against his wife appalls even his friends." (Masterplots, 6316). These opposing views of the character add to his essence in the play. The absolute epitome of Stanley's aggression culminates in his rape of Blanche. The utter brutality of Stanley comes forth in this scene as he takes out his aggression with an assault on Blanche. Again, some readers feel that his vicious attack on Blanche comes about as warranted due to the preceding acts of Blanche. "…for Williams, Blanche is, nonetheless, guilty of abusing and using 'sensitive men' so that her 'punishment'-her rape-fits her crime." (Drama Criticism, 399). Nonetheless, this final exhibition of hostility by Stanley leads to the emotional downfall of
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