Brutality and Deceit in A Streetcar Named Desire Essay

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A Streetcar Named Desire is a socially challenging play in light of the way in which Tennessee Williams depicts the capacity of human nature for brutality and deceit. He takes the viewpoint that, no matter how structured or 'civilized' society is, all people will rely on their natural animal instincts, such as dominance and deception, to get themselves out of trouble at some stage in life. William's has created three main characters, Blanche Dubois, Stella Kowalski and Stanley Kowalski. Each of these characters is equally as civilized as the next, yet all are guilty of acts of savagery on different levels. Throughout the play Williams symbolically relates these three characters to animals, 'savages,' through the disclosure of …show more content…
Finally, Stanley rapes Blanche because “he has tried and tried to keep her down to his level” (Kagan 26) but she cannot go there. The rape is his way of getting her there. In the powerful scene where Stanley loses total control of his actions and strikes the person whom he has sworn to protect, love and cherish, William's shows Stanley's lack of control and hatred of the new threat in his life, Blanche. What makes this scene so important to the topic is the way that the three characters react once the party has broken up. Blanche is in her usual state of panic; Stella has retreated upstairs, while Stanley stumbles around calling out 'Steeelllaaa' in a drunken sweaty animal-like manner. Surprisingly Stella answers her mate's calls and embraces him, the two of them exchanging words of compassion and kisses. Stanley then picks up Stella and carries her off to his den to make love, which is Stanley's way of apologizing. Stanley has to be the dominant male figure in all his relationships, not only with Stella and Blanche, but with his friends as well. He is a leader and instantly rises to the challenge whenever his status is threatened.

Williams uses a different type of savagery in Blanche's character. Blanche is more deceptive and exaggerated than Stanley, trying to hide the effects of her hard life from others through constant bathing, avoiding bright lights and by lying, and from herself, by drinking.
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