A Streetcar Named Desire (Analysis)

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A Streetcar Named Desire: ‘As the action of the play unfolds, dramatic tension is often produced by the contrast of concealment and revelation.’ A Streetcar Named Desire, written by Tennessee Williams, is a rather striking and intriguing play which presents the shift between the new order and the old order. The production takes place in a working class district of New Orleans, soon after World War II, where aristocracy and pretensions are fading, with reality and practicality taking its place. Through the use of concealment and revelation, Williams show how dramatic tension and suspense are intensified within characters and with the audience as the play progresses. Blanche DuBois, the protagonist of the play, initially establishes a façade which creates an escalating tension as the truth is slowly revealed. Her appearance is described as being “incongruous to [the] setting” [15] where her white clothes create an outer shell of innocence, purity, and richness. The audience and other characters learn later that Blanche is very complicated and hard to get along with, due to her egotism and arrogance. She expects chivalry from all men and demands to be treated properly with “respect” [81]. The audience and other characters can see she has “old-fashioned ideals” [91], but has too much self esteem, making people “[admire] her dress” and telling her “she [looks] wonderful” [33]. Blanche is also shown to avoid bright because of her “delicate beauty” [15]. The audience has created an image of Blanche as a wealthy woman with high pretensions, but that image is doubted when Blanche reveals more about her life, thus creating more tension. After she describes how she “stayed and struggled” through “all of [the] deaths” of their relatives and how Belle Reve “slipped through [her] fingers” [27], the audience learns that Blanche had difficulties in her past, making her
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