A Streetcar Named Desire - a Critical Analysis

1175 Words5 Pages
In the words of the playwright on whose work this film is based, Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire is a story of “the ravishment of the tender, the sensitive, the delicate, by the savage and brutal forces of modern society.” Told through the interactions of the two main characters, Blanche Du Bois and Stanley Kowalski, it is the tragic recounting of the repercussions of the social tension that existed between the representatives of the declining traditions of the Old South (where class, race and social status were all important) and the capitalistic system of the New South (where all men are considered equal). The film employs excellent use of Aristotle’s six elements of drama i.e. plot, characters, theme, dialogue, rhythm and spectacle (through film techniques) to skilfully convey these circumstances. The excellent combination of these elements has lead to great critical acclaim and the film winning four academy awards. The message of A Streetcar Named Desire is essentially conveyed through the interplay of the two main characters, Blanche Du Bois, a middle-aged woman from Mississippi, and her sister’s husband, Stanley Kowalski, along with supporting cast members Stella, Blanche’s sister (with whom Blanche goes to live) and Stanley’s friend, Mitch. The story is set in post World War II New Orleans and Blanche represents the traditions of the Old South, which have almost disappeared by this time. In stark contrast, Stanley represents the new urban working class, which is unpretentious, raw and in total opposition to the aristocratic world Blanche represents. Stella and Mitch are supporting characters, necessary for the plot in order to show the antagonism between Blanche and Stanley. This antagonism is a result of Blanche bringing her values into the Kowalski’s home – values that she is unwilling to accept no longer exist. An example of this hostility
Open Document