Blanche Dubois: A Tragic Hero

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Throughout Tennessee William’s play “A Streetcar Named Desire,” Blanche Dubois exemplified several tragic flaws. She suffered from her haunting past; her inability to overcome; her desire to be someone else; and from the cruel, animalistic treatment she received from Stanley. Sadly, her sister Stella also played a role in her downfall. All of these factors ultimately led to Blanche’s tragic breakdown in the end. Blanche could not accept her past and overcome it. She was passionately in love with Alan; but after discovering that he was gay, she could not stomach the news. When she revealed how disgusted she was, it prompted Alan to commit suicide. She could never quite overcome the guilt and put it behind her. Blanche often encountered…show more content…
Blanche repeatedly lied to make herself look pure to others. It only served as a masquerade to hide her dirty, sinful reality. She lied about her age, alcoholism, promiscuity, and why she had to leave Laurel. When Stanley asked her if she wanted a shot, she replied, “No, I—rarely touch it” (Scene 1, page 1548). She could not confront her reality, so she retreated to her world of illusion. This was Blanche’s most prominent flaw. If she could have accepted things for what they are, she could have salvaged her sanity. If, from the beginning, she had been truthful to Stanley’s friend Mitch, he could have forgiven her. Dismally, Mitch would not trust her after finding out everything she said was fabricated. “I don’t want realism. I want magic! Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to people. I misrepresent things to them. I don’t tell truth, I tell what ought to be truth. And if that is sinful, then let me be damned for it” (Scene 9, page 1590). Blanche feared lights which symbolized her fear of reality. She claimed that with Alan’s death, all light had gone out of her life. “And then the searchlight which had been turned on the world was turned off again and never for one moment since has there been any light that’s stronger than this—kitchen candle.” Blanche desired gentleness and kindness, but it was always out of her reach. She could not seek kindness from her family, so she sought it from strangers. “Whoever you
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