Stanley Protagonist In Streetcar

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Write an essay response to scene 3 examining the way in which Stanley fits into the role of protagonist according to Arthur Miller’s view of tragedy. In scene three of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams, Stanley has his friends over for a poker night. When the women come back from their night out, the men are drunk and things turn nasty. In this scene, Stanley fits the idea of Arthur Miller’s views on tragedy and the common man. Ancient Tragedy consisted of the protagonist being somebody of royalty or great importance. Stanley is neither of these. Arthur Miller states that a common man, such a Stanley ‘is as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were’. Although Stanley isn’t kingly, he is still portrayed as pack leader. He acts as if he is above the other men, firing demands and making fun of them, and is very much in control of his wife Stella. When she comes home, Stanley ‘gives a loud whack of his hand on her thigh’. This action shows Stanley’s dominance over her, shows his control and his lack respect for his wife in front of company. Arthur Miller also states that a protagonist is somebody that is willing to do anything it takes, right or wrong to ‘gain his rightful position in society’. Stanley is guilty of this throughout the whole play by always trying to outsmart Blanche. This is Stanley’s main hamartia in the play. In scene three, Stanley is even willing to hit his wife, who is pregnant with his child, to gain back the respect and power he felt he was losing by having Blanche there. Stanley sees nothing wrong with what he is doing, until it is too late and is incapable of understanding his wrongful fight to gain back his sense of dignity. Modern Tragedy is also described as being the ‘consequence of a man’s total consumption to evaluate himself’. In Stanley’s case, tragedy is happening because he is being selfish and
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