Tennessee Williams’ Play “A Streetcar Named Desire”

A Streetcar Named Desire makes it clear that for Williams the act of fleeing always becomes the act of reliving the past. Flight forces the presence of the past on his characters as the presence of what they attempted to flee. Discuss William’s dramatic presentation of Blanche. Blanche is portrayed as a complex, delusional, psychotic character in denial, shown when she says at the conclusion ‘Is it the gentleman I was expecting from Dallas? when there is no gentleman. This is done through William’s use of dramatic language and style She begins to speak with feverish vivacity.

Blanche is out of place in Scene One where her clothes are described as incongruous to the setting. She is out of place geographically, having been exiled from Laurel because of the turmoil with her husband committing suicide and her relationship with a student. She portrays herself as a Southern Belle in Laurel and continues this in New Orleans-she is a lost soul.

She has moved from a large estate, Belle Reve, to sharing a small apartment. She is portrayed as having money but she didn’t buy Belle Reve, it was handed down to her but she never admits to having nothing.

Her clothes reflect the kind of person she is, they are always off white because she is not pure and are similar to that of a moth which is referred to in the play because of how Blanche reacts to the light, I like it dark, the dark is comforting.

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In biblical terms light is the same as truth and Blanche lies throughout the play. Williams is keen to convey to the audience how vulnerable she is in the first scene, her shoulders slightly hunched however as the play develops the audience becomes less sympathetic towards her.

Blanche shows how snobby she is which is seen as pathetic and the audience pity her because of the way she is reacting. She believes she is above everyone when she realises where Stella lives, This-can this-be her home? This is ironic because it is Blanche who has lost her home and has all of her belongings in a suitcase. William’s creates a very dismal scene when Blanche is on her own in Stella’s house, describing the inside of the house The surrounding areas dim out as the interior is lighted. Two rooms can be seen, not too clearly defined.

And then suddenly she notices the alcohol and there is a change which is the first sign of Blanche being an alcoholic. Blanche is described as springing up to get to the alcohol and tosses it down and Williams uses the same wording to describe how Blanche reacts to Stella coming into the room which shows the relationship Blanche has with alcohol. She displays the behaviour of an alcoholic by carefully replacing the bottle and washing out the tumbler.

She acts like she has not seen the alcohol when Stella comes in, while I look around for some liquor!Blanche is in denial about being an alcoholic-she tells Stella ‘your sister hasn’t turned into a drunkard’ and this is true for the other parts of Blanche’s life. When Blanche commences her talk about Belle Reve and what her life has been like, the audience gets the sense of her delusional state of mind which could be perceived as madness and this continues through the play I received a telegram from an old admirer of mine. Dramatically Williams creates the effect of Blanche losing her composure and control and turning into a tragic wreck, ‘Blanche begins to shake again with intensity’.

The repetition and pause between the loss… the loss’ show how traumatised Blanche is with losing Belle Reve. When Blanche is describing all the deaths in her family it is as though she has gone into her own world and, although talking to Stella, she is convincing herself how hard it was for her. Williams uses dramatic imagery, Sometimes their breathing is hoarse, and sometimes it rattles to create sympathy. Blanche uses honey to distract from the fact that she is being mean to Stella and accusing her. Blanche portrays a different nature towards the end of her speech, becoming more forceful, Where were you.

In bed with your –Polack!  Then, again, she suddenly changes to a different tone, Oh, Stella, Stella, you’re crying! as though she is surprised that she has upset her. This is a way of gaining sympathy because she acts like she didn’t realise how rude she was being-it also shows the start of a mental illness with Blanche not being able to control everything she does all the time. This creates a dramatic tension because Williams changes the personality of Blanche so quickly that the reader cannot understand her fully.

Throughout the play Blanche has various mood swings, such as with Mitch. In Scene Two, Blanche is very pleasant towards Stanley, I’m going to ask a favour of you in a moment and then, suddenly, she changes to a fierce tone, ‘The touch of your hands insults them! ’ There is dramatic irony in this scene also because Blanche doesn’t want to say why she has moved from Laurel, I…Uh and as the play continues she develops even more elaborate stories, but she says to Stanley that women should (lay) cards on the table.

This shows Blanche is a hypocrite and the tension between her and Stanley over this leads of her breakdown, especially after the rape. Scene Ten is a tragic scene because Blanche is upset from her confrontation Mitch, Blanche has been drinking fairly steadily and the audience start to fully realise the state of her mind decked herself out in a somewhat soiled and crumpled white satin evening gown which shows the change from the beginning where she always wanted to look her best and didn’t wear white. She looks in the mirror and then ‘slams it face down with such violence that the glass cracks.

This is a dramatic and symbolic action and breaking a mirror is also considered bad luck so it makes the audience foreshadow the tragic outcome. The tension between Blanche and Stanley gradually builds until Blanche becomes terrified and is raped. The shadows are described as grotesque and menacing’ which makes the scene powerful and Williams intention is for it to seem like there are more people intent on hurting Blanche than are actually there. This also plays with Blanche’s mind and portrays her mental instability. Blanche sits down ‘wearily’ which shows the audience that Blanche is gradually giving up.

Tragedy is defined as An event causing great suffering, destruction and distress and this scene is compiled of all three. Blanche suffers from the way Stanley behaves towards her and Stella suffers afterwards in not knowing who to believe, I couldn’t believe her story and go on living with Stanley. There is great distress from Blanche in this scene because she is scared about what will happen, Stay back! Don’t you come towards me…Williams creates drama and tension by not saying what happens between Blanche and Stanley.

Like Stella, the audience have to make their own judgment as to whom to believe. Blanche commands the audience’s attention throughout, which is what she wants with the other characters too. She wants to have a hold over people, particularly men. This is shown when the audience can see that her late husband didn’t want to marry her, but she forced him to. When she is describing how she fell in love with him, she says ‘It was like you suddenly turned a blinding light on which is different to how she lives now with not wanting to be near a strong light.

A young boy comes to deliver a paper to the house and although Blanche doesn’t know him she flirts with him. She wants to know that she can still have a hold over men even though she is older, You make my mouth water. Williams creates suspense by Blanche hinting at the reason she had to leave Laurel, but I’ve got to be good and keep my hands off children. Overall, the last scene also defines tragedy, A serious play in which the chief character passes through a series of misfortunes leading to a final, devastating catastrophe.

The scene is made more dramatic by being extended, to prolong Blanche’s ordeal. Blanche is having a bath, again, to wash away the guilt and her past, and, The atmosphere of the kitchen is now the same raw, lurid one of the disastrous poker night which creates dramatic tension because the audience can sense, like Blanche, that something bad will happen. However, Blanche, being the self-centred person that she is, thinks that the reason everyone is sombre is her appearance, Is something wrong with me?

This is ironic because mentally there is something wrong with her. There is reference to her old life, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers and Blanche shows that she trusts men over woman by doing what the doctor wants but not the matron. This is ironic because men have been the ones hurting her over the years, for example, she was in love with her husband and he was homosexual, she has been used for sex by soldiers and Stanley hasn’t been nice to her. Blanche shows how hurt she is by Stella and Stanley by on without turning.

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Tennessee Williams’ Play “A Streetcar Named Desire”. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-discuss-williams-dramatic-presentation-blanche/

Tennessee Williams’ Play “A Streetcar Named Desire”
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