A Street Car Named Desire Essay.
In this essay I will be exploring and evaluating the way in which Tennessee Williams uses dramatic tension within the play, A Streetcar Names Desire. Dramatic tension is the period within the play where the Tension changes from one level to another. He uses difficult times from his own life, within the play which makes the tension so real and exciting. For example, in his early life, his younger sister Rose, developed a serious case of schizophrenia, which is a mental condition, causing her to be institutionalised, as she was thought to be crazy, and also that she could be dangerous to herself and others around her. Tennessee uses, what that had happened to his sister, to develop certain personalities for characters within the play, such as how Blanche is seen to be crazy because she can hear music, and gun shots in her mind, and also how she can’t stand to be around any sort of bright light, which would be seen as signs of a mental disorder. This connection is important as it shows a connection between two siblings just as it does in the play with Stella and Blanche. Dramatic devise can also be used to make the play more exciting. Tennessee Williams uses such devices as, lighting, emotive music, repetitive motifs & stage direction to create dramatic tension in the play.
The play A Streetcar Named Desire was based in New Orleans, which was involved
with the Civil war- a war between the north and south of America, which could be considered as a main issue within the play as Blanche was from the south and Stanley was from the North. This automatically makes you think that there is going to be major conflict between the two as they both have different ways of life. When Williams was a child he used writing as a way to escape the reality and the real world around him. This could be a reason why Blanche persistently lies throughout the play.
A Streetcar named Desire was written by Tennessee Williams, during the restless years following World War II. The play was based on the life of a woman named Blanche Dubois. Blanche was a fragile and neurotic woman, desperate for a place to call her own. She had been exiled from her hometown Laurel, Mississippi after seducing a seventeen year old boy. After this incident, she decided to move to ...
William uses a wide range of themes and motifs in the play. A major theme within the play is fantasy’s inability to overcome reality, this is shown through the main character Blanche. Blanche frequently persuades herself so much that she doesn’t in fact know what the truth is. This is overwhelmed by another theme death, as the death of her childhood sweetheart Alan, who’s she also married very young, is the cause of her insecurities and fragility, which leaves her mentally detached from reality by the end of the play. Another theme in A Streetcar Named Desire is conflict, used through the majority of the characters, mainly focusing around the animalistic, alpha male Stanley. He is very dominating and intimidating, which causes conflict between him, Stella, Blanche and even his very own friends.
There are many different technique and major themes in the play, which some relate to Blanche personally, such as light, music and bathing. Light, or the absence of it, is continuously exploited to conceal Blanche’s elderly appearance, and is symbolic of the positivity that excited Blanche’s life after Alan died. Music is consistently used throughout the play to show dramatic effect and is used to remind Blanche of her dead lover, as the music will appear when blanche is feeling her worst, and most fragile times, and will continue to get increasively louder throughout, until she is brought back to reality. Bathing is used by blanche many times in the play. This could be for many different reason; bathing could be used to symbolise Blanche washing herself away, as she is drowning in her sorrows, or alternatively to try and wash herself clean of all of the lies she has told about her past, or it could also be used to show that she is trying to wash away the memories of her sexual encounters when she was still in Belle Reve because it could be suggested that that has made her feel or even seem dirty.
'A Streetcar Named Desire'; and 'The Glass Menageries were written by Tennessee William in the late Thirties, where the depression made countless of people struggled in poverty. Both of the plays used the typical American family during the Thirties as the background setting. There were many similarities between the plays: including characters and events. Did Tennessee William write the same play ...
The dramatic tension which builds within the play is helped by the interaction between the characters, especially in scene one when Blanche arrives in New Orleans and is confronting Stella. She firstly makes Stella feel low by saying that she is “as plump as a little partridge” I believe Blanche says this to decrease Stella’s self-esteem, thus making herself have a form of control and superiority over her sister.
Also In scene one, Blanche has a hysterical outburst to her sister Stella about the deaths of her family in Belle Reve: ‘_And__, oh what gorgeous boxes they pack them away in! Unless you were there at the bed when they cried out, “Hold me!” you’d never suspect there was the struggle for breath and bleeding. You didn’t dream, but I saw! Saw! Saw! How in hell do you think all that sickness and dying was paid for? Death is expensive, Miss Stella!’_ This quote entails a very interesting and powerful graphical image, as though Blanche can still today see the visual image herself, which also helps the audience to understand the horrific deaths. When Blanche states ‘And, oh what gorgeous boxes they pack them away in!’ it is as though she is being sarcastic by naming one positive thing during the deaths, so it can be overshadowed by all of the negativity; the effect of this is that it emphasises how unpleasant the deaths were.
‘The struggle for breath and bleeding.’Gives us a significant visual image that Blanche’s family died struggling for breath and bleeding which is very peculiar but here it shows that the victims slowly died inside to the point where they would be yearning for one last grasp of air. As well, the struggle for bleeding initiates that the death violently killed them on the inside of the body and mentally that much, that it could be suggested that they would rather have got murdered and bled to death. The way Blanche quotes ‘”Hold me!’” indicates that the victims were lost, empty and lonely; it also shows that this was an important but yet horrific moment for Blanche, as the last touch of each family member was probably during their last seconds of life. Blanche also shows her first inability to cope with reality as she mentions dreams, showing that her experience was even worse than a horrifying dream itself which is then followed by ‘but I saw! Saw! Saw!’ showing that she can’t cope with what she saw and the also effect of the word ‘saw’ being repeated is effective because it could be suggested that the actual image of death is repeatedly going through her head just as the words ‘saw’ are actually repeated verbally.
In analyzing Blanche DuBois, one of the main characters in A Streetcar Named Desire, it is crucial to examine not only the literal text, but also the symbolism conveyed in the play. Williams creates symbols which, as the story progresses, grow less and less sane. Following artists like Salvador Dali, he uses insanity, like intoxication and the dream, as a kind of instrument for the organization ...
‘How in hell do you think all that sickness and dying was paid for? Death is expensive, Miss Stella!’ this quote related so well with the remark about the coffins, ‘oh what gorgeous boxes they pack them away in!’ as it shows that if the boxes were pretty then they must of been expensive, also to at all say that a coffin is expensive is rare as it is a funeral and not many things are viewed as pretty. ‘Death is expensive’ could be a metaphor for costing Blanche Belle Reve, or alternatively costing Blanche her nerves, tears and sanity. The effect of this is that it puts a dramatic effect on how the deaths affected Blanche physically and psychologically. During this part of the play there is a lot of dramatic tension as Blanche goes into great detail of what she saw making it more dramatic because it gives the audience a very extreme visual image of all of the deaths. Sound is also used to increase the dramatic tension as ‘The music of the “blue piano” grows louder.’ This indicates that it is a very tense moment because the music is getting louder and louder, also the choice of the blue piano shows the mood of situation is very gloomy and depressing.