Illusion and Fantasy in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

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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
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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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