“Mendacity is a system that we live in. Liquor is one way out and death’s the other.” This quote by Tennessee Williams is expressed throughout one of his best-known works, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and the theme of mendacity permeates the entire play. Mendacity is a term that refers to lies, hypocrisy and deception that the Pollitt family uses to escape from falsehood. The overburdened circumstances of the family crisis reveal hidden truths that were being held by the characters in the play.
Brick drinks in order to escape mendacity and lies, the Pollitt family, except Brick lies to Big Daddy about his terminal cancer and Big Daddy himself is Brick drinks in order to escape mendacity and lies. The alcohol helps him cope with issues he has bottled up inside and eases the pain he inflicts on himself by denying the nature of his relationship with Skipper and his culpability in Skippers self-destruction and death. Brick confesses to Maggie that alcohol is the only way he can obtain peace of mind and says, “The click in my head when I’ve had enough of this stuff to make me peaceful… (1.
33)” Brick feels responsible for Skipper’s suicide because he rejected him after he confessed his feelings for Brick. During hisfirst real discussion with Big Daddy, Brick spits out his disgust with mendacity. He is repulsed with the fake life he has been living when his friendship with recently deceased Skipper was misinterpreted as “dirty”. However, Big Daddy states that Brick’s disgust with mendacity is really disgust withUh-hu.
Anyhow now!-we have tracked down the lie with which you’redisgusted and which you are drinking to kill your disgust with,Brick. You been passing the buck. This disgust with mendacity isdisgust with yourself. You!-dug the grave of your friend and kickedhim in it!- before you’d face truth with him! (2.127) Big Daddy genuinely lov…