A Streetcar Named Desire is an emotional play written by Tennessee Williams. The play provides a complex set of emotions, conflicts, and stereotyped roles among the character’s life. Some of the major themes in the play include gender stereotyping, class conflict, desires, and cultural differences.
About the Author :
Tennessee Williams was an American author and playwright. He was famous for many classic plays during his time. Some of his well-known plays include The Glass Menagerie (1944), A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), and Sweet Bird of Youth (1959). He won the Pulitzer Prize award for his play A Streetcar Named Desire. Other than plays, he has also written poetry, short stories, essays and a volume of memoirs.
About the Play – Summary :
A Streetcar Named Desire revolves around the main character, Blanche Dubois. She visits her sister, Stella’s house to stay with her. Stella is pregnant and is living with her husband, Stanley Kowalski, who is doing a blue collar job. Blanche is a lonely widow, who had lost her family mansion and property.
Blanche expresses a disdainful attitude towards Stella’s lifestyle, even though she does not have any money or place to live on her own. Blanche is pretentious of her social culture and virtues but lives as an alcoholic with dark desires for lust. Contrarily, Stella holds a sympathetic attitude towards her sister. On the other hand Stanley is suspicious of Blanche for cheating Stella of their share to her family inheritance. He dislikes Blanche to the core and this causes physical and emotional conflicts within the household.
Blanche starts dating with Stanley’s friend Mitch. She also persuades her sister to leave Stanley for a better husband of their social status, to which Stella denies. However, Stanley on overhearing the conversation gets maddened at Blanche. Stanley starts threatening Blanche with the rumors about her past. He finally reveals the disreputable past of Blanche and her wanton affairs that led to her eviction from her mansion and job. Stanley gives her one-way bus ticket back to Laurel to which she gets mad but the situation settles as Stella gets into labor pain. Eventually, Mitch breaks up with her and this makes her emotionally unstable. Later, she gets drunk and spurns at Stanley for all the mishap. She collapses into a state of despair and faces the physical abuse of Stanley. By the end, she is taken to insane asylum by the doctor to whom she confesses her desire for stranger’s kindness.
The play is packed with emotional tension within the characters. Blanche and Stanley share disparate notions of values and desires. The effects of alcoholism, rage and sexual violence among the characters leads to emotionally-charged conflicts between them.
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