Character of Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar

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The Character of Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire

Animals are, by nature, passionately instinctive; that is, when reacting to a situation, they do so forcefully and spontaneously. Therefore, we can think of passionate instinct as an intense, innate reaction to a particular situation. Animals also lack what we call ‘inhibition’ -- the suppression of a natural drive, instinct or feeling. For instance, when a skunk senses danger, it will not restrain its natural, defensive reaction and will not hesitate to spray a foul-smelling substance in the direction of the danger for self-protection. When cattle sense a threat to their environment, they do not try to rationalize their way to safety -- they stampede. If a bull’s passions are
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Stanley seems to be what we would consider a typical man: he works to support his wife, whom he loves dearly; he gets together with his friends to play cards or go bowling, and he seems to think of himself as the “king of his castle”. However, he is also seen as being animalistic in nature, as he, too, is ruled by passionate instinct. We can think of him as being animalistic because his reaction to various situations -- for instance, his reaction when Stella breaks up his card game (I, iii, 57) -- is often intense, violent, and very instinctive in nature.

However, animals also become threatened and often react in a savage, violent way in order to defend themselves. When Stanley learns of his wife’s loss of Belle Reve, he reacts in the same way that an animal would when a threat to its family is sensed; Stanley reacts with growing hostility and violent, ‘uncivilized’ behavior. He instantly believes that Blanche, his sister-in-law, has swindled his wife, Stella. Since he thinks that Stella has been swindled, he feels that he, too, has been swindled. When Stella tells him not to question Blanche about Belle Reve, we can clearly see that he has become hostile towards Blanche: “So that’s the deal, huh? Sister Blanche cannot be annoyed with business details right now” (I, ii, 34). He then becomes defensive, searching through Blanche’s property, becoming angry towards
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