To What Extent Does Williams Present Desire as a Tragic Flaw in Scene Six of ‘a Streetcar Named Desire’

1632 WordsApr 19, 20137 Pages
To what extent does Williams present desire as a tragic flaw in scene six of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ In A Streetcar Named Desire Blanche’s flaws that lead to her downfall are abundant. If we are to view Blanche Dubois as a tragic heroine, then it is in scene six that her tragic flaws are especially evident, and in particular desire. They are so prevalent here as it is arguably the beginning of Blanche’s demise and as in Shakespearean tragedy; it is in the centre of the play that we see the beginning of the protagonist’s downfall. Desire, as her harmartia, is represented in several ways in scene six. One of the ways in which Williams presents desire as Blanche’s harmartia is through the symbol of the “streetcar named…show more content…
The contrasts in character emphasised here show that Blanche’s flirtatious attempts to manipulate Stanley are marked out to end in tragedy. Furthering this point Blanche herself recognises what is expected of her as a woman “It was the other little – familiarity – that I – felt obliged to – discourage”[9]. But the disjointed nature of this utterance, by use of hyphens, suggests that she is uncomfortable with these conventions; which is further suggested by her “affection of demureness”.[10] Another way in which desire is presented as a tragic flaw in scene six is through the “nervous gesture” [11]which Blanche makes upon Mitch asking “How old are you?”[12], revealing to us her desire for youth and the fact she is trying to combat an un-evadable higher power. This relates again to the idea of inevitability and the symbol of the street car, as the streetcar is bound to its tracks and has one eventual end. In the same way Blanche is bound to her fate that lead to her unavoidable end. Her desire for youth is directly juxtaposed to Mitch’s dying mother, who shows us the inevitable link between age and death which foreshadows Blanche’s demise. Blanche’s desire for youth links with her desiring her past where she had money, a man, security and a good reputation, before it was sullied by desire. We learn of her youth and past being tainted by desire

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