Tragic Comedy of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire

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A Streetcar Named Desire as Tragic Comedy

Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire is considered by many critics to be a “flawed” masterpiece. This is because William’s work utilizes and wonderfully blends both tragic and comic elements that serve to shroud the true nature of the hero and heroine, thereby not allowing the reader to judge them on solid actuality. Hence, Williams has been compared to writers such as Shakespeare who, in literature, have created a sense of ambiguity and uncertainty in finding a sole “view or aspect ” in their works. Because of the highly tragic elements encountered in Streetcar, many immediately label it a tragedy. Nevertheless, the immense comical circumstances encountered in the play
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In a desperate last attempt to preserve her aristocratic values, she must combat everything that Stanley Kowalski is. While she represents everything that is sacred within cultural boundaries, that of which being the love of language, music, art, etc…Stanley is the brute opposite. He is highly animalistic and primitive in his ways and serves as the sole destroyer of everything Blanche embodies. “The first time I laid eyes on him I thought to myself, that man is my executioner! That man will destroy me…”(Williams 351). This goes to show that, since there can be no coexistence between classes, Blanche, the romantic delicate southern belle, will meet her doom at the hands of the crude and savage Stanley.

However, on a psychological level, Stanley emerges as the hero. The sexually healthy and “sacred” marriage he shares with his wife is in staunch contrast to the perverted and debauched sexual exploits of Blanche. In the role as the psychological “profaner,” Blanche is just as much to blame for her rape as Stanley is. Blanche is a profane and perverted intruder into his sacred yet crude domain. Thus, he reacts violently when he feels that his household is being threatened. Stanley seeks above all, to retain order and symmetry within his created existence. Stanley and Blanche, on their respective levels, serve as the classic heroes struggling for self-preservation. One must deal with both the social and

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