Tennessee Williams’ play “Streetcar named desire” is the first “serious” American drama that has gained worldwide recognition due to the actualization of the conflict between man and society. It is the classic of the American theatre. This play defined the main topics, thoughts, and ideas of the author for many years in advance. Some of them are family and society, domestic violence, surviving conflict, sexual desire, etc. It is, in fact, the only play that tells both about a person and about society, and it is a product of our present life.
“Streetcar named desire” realizes the tragedy of the confused person, generated by the whole way of life in society. Existential insight drives him crazy; he can not withstand the all-round pressure of circumstances. Then all that is left for him is to run into a world of illusions that only upset the soul.
The main plot
It is a play about Blanche Dubois, the broken middle-aged aristocrat, who comes to New Orleans, supposedly to visit his sister. In reality, this is her only hope for shelter after losing the family manor through her promiscuous past.
In the past – a reckless, difficult, unhappy life. Once upon a time, “The Dream” was a family manor. Stella, her sister, at one time went to New Orleans to seek her fate. Blanche remained in the manor and fought for him. But she was defeated: no “The Dream,” no money, no strength. Behind – unsuccessful marriage (her husband turned out to be a homosexual, he had committed suicide, having learned that Blanche disclosed his secret) and the loss of honest name.
She worked as a teacher, and, naturally, without knowing the practical side of life, she could not prevent the loss of the estate. Endless sorrows and disappointments prompt her to alcoholism and frivolous sexual behavior. As a result, she was forced to leave the city after a scandal with a young student, with whom she had an affair.
In despair, Blanche comes to her sister. She does not have any hope to set up a personal destiny. But Stella became a stranger. When she leaves for the maternity hospital, her husband Stanley Kowalski rapes Blanche, and she becomes crazy. So, the violence that Stanley committed over Blanche sums up her warped life.
However, Tennessee Williams makes it clear that Blanche’s loneliness is not a conclusion of her immoral behavior, but the irreversible impact of social conditions on a person. The aristocrat Dubois does not keep up with the rapidly changing world and realizes that there is no place for her. She does not accept the rude and vulgar Stanley Kowalski, the embodiment of limitation, violence, and aggression. His mind is clouded by resentment of the arrogant Dubois, who condemned Stella for her choice. Now he finds a way of revenge raping her wife`s sister and prove that he spits on this elite.
Who is the main character
The main character is sophisticated, clever, refined, beautiful, but a weak woman. In the introduction, the author tries to show his sympathy for Blanche before the audience. Williams describes the image of a thoughtless woman, but at the same time, he creates admiration for Blanche through his use of characterization, contrast, the conflict between heroes, key scenes and aspects of staging. He does not consider this a consequence of spoiled morals. The author sees in his creation the elegance and sophistication of a spiritually developed personality who has found freedom in herself and preferred a lonely, beautiful rebellion against conformism to the coward adaptability of her sister. The psychology of Blanche’s image is ambiguous; her image wakes up both sympathy and disapproval at the same time.
The play gives the strong and dramatic example of a woman`s struggle with the impacts of destructive loss and with her own weak mental state. “Streetcar” is the symbolism of a journey and Blanche`s arrival, and the departure at the beginning and end of the play represent states of a journey that is both physical and psychological.
H2: The essence of the conflict
Through the conflict between Blanche Dubois and Stanley Kowalski the play shows Blanche`s tragic journey towards elimination, insanity, and her final destination, death: as she observes, death is the opposite of desire.
When Blanche arrived, she made the remark: “They told me to take a streetcar named “Desire,” and then transfer to one called “Cemeteries.” In this quote, the meaning of the name of the play is hidden: it is a desire that leads the broken woman into the grave. But our life is arranged in that way: always choose “Desire,” even if it leads to the cemetery.
So, the idea of the play is much broader than the clarification of the relationship. The main question of the play “Streetcar named desire” is that the culture is doomed to death in front of the face of a vulgar “mass man,” self-confident to adoration. This is a social conflict, where Blanche and Stanley are images – symbols that personify two social layers, which are irreconcilable in alternate enmity. It is more than a clash of characters; it is the confrontation of human ideals and the routine truth of life.
The deeper analysis of “Streetcar named desire” shows the contrasts of society, the huge gulf between classes, between men and women, married and lonely. And also about how the main heroine was burnt in her desire to live only for the sake of desire. Blanche and Stanley are two opposite poles, with exaggerated character traits, they are in endless conflict, and even an innocuous conversation ends in tragedy. The reluctance of the main heroes to show tolerance, compassion, and understanding for each other is Blanche Dubois’s mind. And even, despite the blood ties, the sisters do not manage to overcome the gap between the two worlds.
In conclusion, the primary place in the play “Streetcar named desire” is devoted to the problem of the coexistence of a refined, spiritually developed person and a brutal reality created by vulgar people like Stanley. The psychology of Williams is the manifestation of interest in the contradictory inner world of even the most unsightly hero. Blanche’s spiritual invincibility is in the fact that she, doomed to death in a pragmatic society, does not renounce her ideals, does not yield to her positions, unlike her apathetic sister who is content with movies and maps. The great ideals are manifested in psychological defense of people from the experience that have wrecked all their hopes.