Illusion and Fantasy in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
An illusion is fake belief whereas fantasy is imagining fanciful visions. Both these themes are important in the play because they show how they can be mistaken for reality by each character in the play.
The themes illusion and fantasy are involved from the start of the play. We learn from when Stanley throws the package of meat down to
Stella that he is a dominant character and that his relationship with
Stella isn’t as happy as it may seem to be. Even in scene 2, Stanley’s aggressiveness is shown towards Stella, ‘since when do you give me orders?’. However, the most significant example of his brutality is during the Poker Game in scene 3. This is where …show more content…
Even when Blanche pleads for help from
Stella after revealing that Stanley raped her, she refuses to believe her, ‘I couldn’t believe her story and go on living with Stanley.’
Stella betrays her sister just for the sake of making her marriage happier and that is why, when Blanche is sent off to the asylum, the situation remains the same between Stella and Stanley. Not only does
Stella live in a fantasy world but Blanche herself does too, till
Stanley crushes it.
Blanches history of bad relationships are the cause of her fantasy.
When she discovered that her past love Allan, was actually homosexual, her dreams became shattered, and she was never again the same person.
She became vulnerable and self conscious but also someone who could not forget about the past, because it was the time when she was young, and she clearly wishes she remained looking and feeling young, that is why she is very self conscious of her image, ‘And turn that over-light off! I won’t be looked at in this merciless glare!’ Blanche still fantasises about her youth, that is why in scene 5 she flirts with the young newspaper because she wants to have the forces of attraction that her youthful beauty once provided her. However, at the same time, she is a hypocrite, because her throwing herself at younger men reveals that she is still lustful underneath her well mannered, courteous disguise.
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Tennessee Williams uses the constant battle between illusion and reality as a theme throughout his play A Streetcar Named Desire. Many use illusion to escape the reality they are living in. This theme is present in all of his characters in different ways.
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams uses setting to illustrate various themes and messages as they pertain to the events of the play. The setting plays a crucial role in the story line and the outcome of the play.
Williams' Use of Imagery and Symbolism in A Streetcar Named Desire Williams uses figurative language in his lengthy stage directions to convey to the reader a deeper, more intense picture than a description alone could express. In the opening stage direction Williams illustrates the area around Elysian Fields. He uses personification to describe "the warm breath of the brown river" (P1). I think this creates an atmosphere that is decaying yet at the same time welcoming and affectionate.
The most obvious symbol used in A Streetcar Named Desire is its title and the actual reference, in the play, to the streetcars named Desire and Cemeteries. They are the means by which Blanche was brought to the home of Stanley and Stella and, as the play unfolds, we realize the names of the streetcars have a greater significance. Blanche's instructions were to “take a streetcar named Desire, and then transfer to one called Cemeteries." When Blanche first arrives she is possessed by a desire for love and understanding, but always in the background lurks the fear of death and destruction. If the one cannot be obtained, a transfer to the other will be the inevitable alternative. Blanche indicates this in her speech to Mitch in scene
Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire is a web of themes, complicated scenarios, and clashes between the characters. Therefore, it might’ve been somehow difficult to find out who the protagonist of this play is if it wasn’t for Aristotle’s ideas of a good tragedy because neither of the main characters, Stanley Kowalski and Blanche Dubois, is completely good nor bad. According to Aristotle’s Poetics, a good tragedy requires the protagonist to undergo a change of status which only happens with Blanche Dubois.
“Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces” (Sigmund Freud). Illusion can be a part of our lives; however, if taken to the extreme, it can lead one to forget reality. Every individual has problems in life that must be faced with reality and not with illusion, even though it might throw one into flames of fires. Tennessee Williams' play of a family reveals the strength of resistance between reality and desire, judgment and imagination, and between male and female. The idea of reality versus illusion is demonstrated throughout the play. Blanche's
How does Williams present the themes of illusion and fantasy in A Streetcar Named Desire?
In the opening two scenes of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams, the audience has its first and generally most important impressions formulated on characters, the plot and the mood and tone of the play overall.
I agree that characters in the book A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, use lying and deception to fuel their social status. These lies develop trust and relationship issues and threaten the wellbeing of everyone involved. Blanche, was a high school english teacher in mississippi who was forced to leave her life behind there. With nowhere to go Blanche moves in with her sister Stella and husband Stanley, who has a suspicion about Blanche's past life which lead to some unwanted events.
In Tennessee Williams play “A Streetcar Named Desire” madness continues to get progressively worse in the lives of the main characters Stanly, Stella, and Blanche. Because of low self esteem and her delusional thought process Blanche is most affected by the madness. Blanche’s delusional life style leads her to compulsively lie, live a promiscuous life style, and alcoholism. Blanche tries constantly to deal with her own madness, but her delusional mental state is constantly effect by the people around her. Although she causes most of the problems in her life some of her madness is justifiable. By the end of the play Blanche can no longer fight off the madness and is sent to an insane asylum. Even though most of the madness that occurs
Tennessee Williams was an American writer known for short stories and poems in the mid 1950’s. His more famous writing was A Streetcar Named Desire. His writings influenced many other writers such as August Strindberg and Hart Crane. His writings A Streetcar Named Desire and The Glass Menagerie was adopted to films and A Streetcar Named Desire earned him his first Pulitzer prize. In A Streetcar Named Desire there is many elements that build the plot and story line. The story is about a girl who is drove crazy by his sister’s husband and eventually sent to the mental hospital. The main plot is towards the end of the story when Blanche Dubois is blackmailed by her sister’s husband and raped by him. Everything takes its toll on her until she begins drinking heavily and is thought to have gone crazy and placed in a mental hospital. In this story, many things play affect in the contrast of the writing such as Blanche arriving at her sister’s house, seeing her sister’s husbands attitude, the poker game, Blanche getting raped. These events make Blanche an easy victim. In Tennessee Williams, a street car named desire, the start of kindness turns to tragedy and pain.
“Symbols are nothing but the natural speech of drama…the purest language of plays.” Once, quoted as having said this, Tennessee Williams has certainly used symbolism and colour extremely effectively in his play, ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’. A moving story about fading Southern belle Blanche DuBois and her lapse into insanity, ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ contains much symbolism and clever use of colour. This helps the audience to link certain scenes and events to the themes and issues that Williams presents within the play, such as desire and death, and the conflict between the old America and the new.
Like many people in the world, the characters in Tennessee William’s play, A Streetcar Named Desire, are troubled by anxiety and insecurities. Life in New Orleans during the 1940s was characterized by the incredible variety of music, lively and bright atmosphere, and diverse population, while in the midst of the ongoing World War II. Culture was rich and fruitful because the city developed into a “melting pot” of people from all over the world. Due to the wide-range in population, the people of New Orleans adopted an identity like no other. Instead of their identity being entirely pieced together, almost like a puzzle, the people took on one that was shared by the entire community. However, with this being said, people had the ability to use this to their advantage and mask their true selves. This idea translates well into the play A Streetcar Named Desire, and is exhibited through the character Blanche. In A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams uses the theme of vanity to reveal the importance of appearance, and the insecurities of Blanche and how they influence her actions.
Some novels and plays seem to advocate changes in social or political attitudes or in traditions. Choose such a novel or play and note briefly the particular attitudes or traditions that the author apparently wishes to modify. Then analyze the techniques the author uses to influence the reader or audience’s views. Avoid plot summary.