Symbolism in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams Essay example

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During the late nineteen-forties, it was common for playwrights such as Tennessee Williams to use symbolism as an approach to convey personal thoughts, through the attitudes of the characters and the setting. Williams' actors have used symbolism to disguise the actuality of their thoughts and to accommodate the needs of their conservative audience. A Streetcar Named 'Desire' has a few complicated character traits and themes. Therefore, they have to be symbolised using figures or images to express abstract and mystical ideas, so that the viewers can remain clueless. Williams not only depicts a clear personality of the actors but he also includes real-life public opinions from the past (some of which are contemporary.) These…show more content…
Stella: What? Stanley: Meat! From these two brief extracts, the keynote is that the red meat is a symbol used to show Stanley's 'bestial' attitude, which is also in another of Blanche's dialogues: -------------------------------------------------------------------- Blanche: There's something downright - bestial - about him! The image Blanche creates of Stanley (him being an animal - an ape) is coincidental to the fact that she is actually describing her brother-in-law, throwing red meat to his wife in an unacceptable fashion. We know that Blanche had not been present, at the time of the event. This clearly proves that Stanley's bad actions are so obvious, even other characters in the play can predict his actions. It is just like saying a tiger arrives at his habitat with 'red meat' and feeds his cubs, similar to what any other animal would do. Basically, Stanley tossing the pack of meat at his wife could symbolise that he is not a normal human being! He is an animal, a caveman, or even a 'madman', as Blanche prefers calling him! (Page 158) Blanche: In my opinion? You're married to a madman! However, the 'red-stained package' might mean something completely different. Perhaps the playwright is symbolising a new entry; trying to describe an early impression of Stanley. The colour red could suggest a hot, passionate and sexy character, who does not care about manners as long as sex and women
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