Symbolism, Imagery and Allegory in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire

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Symbolism, Imagery and Allegory in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire Tennessee Williams said, in the foreword to Camino Real, "a symbol in a play has only one legitimate purpose, which is to say a thing more directly and simply and beautifully than it could be said in words." Symbolism is used, along with imagery and allegory to that effect in both Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire. Both plays tend to share the same kinds of symbols and motifs; sometimes they achieve the same meaning, sometimes not. It is possible that Williams' took elements from A Streetcar Named Desire to make Cat on a Hot Tin Roof a success. After the success of A Streetcar Named Desire, Williams' next 2 plays The…show more content…
[Italics Williams'] (Cat. P.27) This dialogue is symbolic of Brick's decision to take an ideal past over an uncertain future. The `click' in Brick's head is his escape; it echoes the click of the phone when he hung up on Skipper. It means that he doesn't have to face the truth anymore just like he didn't with Skipper. The alcohol leads to the click and the click leads to escape. At the end of the play, Maggie removes both of Brick's crutches until he satisfies her physically in trying for a baby. This is symbolically forcing Brick to face the future before wallowing in the past. In A Streetcar Named Desire, one of the first things Blanche does when arriving at Elysian Fields is "look around for some liquor" (Streetcar p.120), just as she looks for an escape from her own past. This symbolism puts new meaning in Blanche's line "[looking down at the glass, which shakes in her hand]: You're all I've got in the world, and your not glad to see me!" it leaves one wondering whether she is talking to Stella or to the liquor at this point. Both Brick and Blanche have idealised their pasts beyond reach. Brick sums this up, stating, "those high hurdles have gotten too high for me, now." (Cat p. 53) This imagery of the high hurdles is symbolic of the unattainable past Brick strives for. Boxhill believes that Brick saw Skipper as a symbol of a "marriage of pure souls" (Boxhill p.113). Griffin sums up Brick's

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