Streetcar Named Desire Essay Research Paper

Streetcar Named Desire Essay, Research Paper

‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ is a very socially challenging play in the way in

which Tennessee Williams depicts how brutal and deceiving human nature can be.

He takes the point of view that no matter how structured or ‘civilized’ society

is all people will rely on their natural animal instincts, such as dominance and

deception, to get themselves out of trouble at some stage in life, even if they

don’t realize it. William’s has created three main characters of society, they

are, Blanche Dubiou, Stella and Stanley Kowalski. Each of these characters is

equally as civilized as one another, yet their acts of savagery are all on

different levels. Throughout the play Williams symbolically relates these three

characters to animals, ’savages,’ by the use of their attitudes, beliefs,

appearances and desires. The most obvious example of a savage in the play is

Stanley Kowalski. He is a large well-toned, territorial male with simple beliefs

and a short temper. He does not have many manners and does not care what people

think of him. He seems very simple but there I much more to him. He feels

threatened by Blanche because she moves in on his territory and wants Stella to

leave him. At first, Stanley acts physically dominant over both Blanche and

Stella; by rifling through Blanches possessions (act 1 scene 3 pg.124 ), quoting

to Stella and Blanche that ?every man is a king? (act scene 8 pg.197-198 ),

throwing the radio out the window in a drunken frenzy and actually striking his

pregnant wife (Stella) (act 1 scene 3 pg. 152-155). However, towards the end of

the play, Stanley realizes his power over Blanche and he acts a lot wiser, but

still with the same intentions. He dresses smarter, talks to her nicely, but

mockingly, and finally rapes her just to prove his status and to fulfill his

?desire? (act 1, scene 10, pg.215). In the powerful scene where Stanley

looses total control of his actions and strikes the person who he has sworn to

protect, love and to hold. William’s shows Stanley’s lack of control and hatred

to a new threat in his life, Blanche. What makes this scene so important to the

topic is the way that the three characters react once the party has broken up.

Blanche is in her usual state of panic; Stella has retreated to up-stairs while

Stanley stumbles around calling out ‘Steeelllaaa’ in a drunken sweaty animal

like manner. Surprisingly Stella answers to her ‘mate’s’ calls and embraces him,

they then exchange words of compassion and kiss, Stanley then picks her up and

carries her off to his den to make-love, which is Stanley’s way of saying sorry.

Stanley has to be the domineering figure in his relationships we see it not only

with Stella and Blanche, but with his friends as well. He is a leader and does

not like it when someone tries to complicate his role. William’s uses a

different type of savagery in Blanche’s character. Blanche is more deceptive and

exaggerated than Stanley is, he tries to hide her age, from others, by constant

bathing and dim lighting, and from herself, by drinking and lying. Through out

the whole play she is trying to hide here real identity, the actual animal

instincts that are inside her. She hides these with perfume, wearing fancy

clothes, even by putting a lampshade to hide the actual light. She also attempts

to steal Stella away from Stanley by relating him to an animal. This is best

represented when Blanche says; "He acts like an animal, has animals habits!

Eats like one, moves like one, talks like one! There’s even something -

sub-human – something Not quite to the stage of humanity yet! Yes, something -

ape-like about him, like one of those pictures I’ve seen in ? anthropological

studies! Thousands and thousands of years have passed him right by, and there he

is – Stanley Kowalski ? survivor of the Stone Age! Bearing the raw meat home

from the kill in the jungle!studies! Thousands and thousands of years have

passed him right by, and there he is – Stanley Kowalski – survivor of the Stone

Age! Bearing the raw meat home from the kill in the jungle!? (act 1 scene 9

pg. 119). Despite the fact that there is a lot of truth in Blanche’s words she

deceives herself by her drinking and her need to feel ‘wanted by men’. She

blames society for these ‘cravings’ and states that she only does it to

’survive’. Blanche is not happy with her actual self, so she is always trying to

hide it. Although she appears the opposite of Stanley they both share the same

characteristics. They both are very lustful, they both drink a lot, and they are

both very competitive toward each other. They are both savages raised in

different worlds. William’s character Stella seems to set the standard for the

civilized person, but at a closer look Stella may be just as guilty of savagery

as Stanley and Blanche. The humble Stella has ‘desires’ just like Blanche and

Stanley; she needs Stanley for his security and companionship, she likes to feel

overpowered by a rugged man. Stella’s weakness is present throughout the play,

when she takes Stanley’s word over Stella’s, but more so when she goes back to

Stanley after being struck by him. Stella wakes up in the morning and everything

is back to normal after turning on the ‘colored lights’ with Stanley. Once again

with Stella we see that she enjoys sex. At the end of the play she knows that

her husband, Stanley, raped her sister but still decides to be with him. She

wants sex and she needs it. ?There are some things that happen between a man

and a woman in the dark?(Act 1, scene 8, pg 109) Stella is basically admitting

that her and Stanley?s relationship is based around sex. Which is a very

animal instinct. Stella, although does not say it, enjoys being domineered. She

needs it. There is no doubt that Tennessee Williams believes ‘we are all savages

at heart.’ He seems to indirectly-attack the way in which society makes people

think and act towards the more untamed desire, guilt, spiritual torment, and

repressed sexuality. In the play every one has certain basic animal instincts

and all of our characteristics can be drawn back to that. He seems to base most

relationships on sex, which is the most natural, act that humans and all other

animals can do. All three of these characters have the same personalities in

many ways. Blanche hides her real emotions and her ?savageness?, While

Stanley does the opposite and does not hide it enough. He lets all of the cards

out on the table. And Stella I believe is the most intriguing character of them

all. She grew up with Blanche and knows that life style but Stanley has shown

her his world and she is mixed up in between the two. She is like a ping pong

ball. And ultimately Stanley wins the game, by her love for lust. All of these

characters can be compared to their primate species, and Williams reveals it in

this play.


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