Streetcar Named Desire Essay

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How does Tennessee Williams portray a flaw in a central character in the play A Streetcar Named Desire? “A Streetcar named Desire” is a play written by Tennessee Williams in which the central character is flawed but nevertheless gains your admiration. It is a play about Blanche DunBois who comes to New Orleans to live off her sister’s charity after losing the family home through her promiscuous past. Williams makes awareness of the flaw and creates admiration of the character through his use of characterisation, contrast, conflict, key scenes and aspects of staging. Firstly, the characterisation of Blanche DuBois successfully hints at her flaw early in the play. She is described in the stage directions as she enters the play: “daintily dressed in a white suit” and as fragile as “a moth”. Word choice of “daintily” suggests Blanche’s fragility and “white suit” suggests her purity and innocence. Blanche’s purity is furthermore emphasised through her name “Blanche” which is French for “white”. The audience’s admiration for her character begins to grow as she is portrayed as an innocent character. Her flaw is hinted through William’s use of the metaphor of “the moth” which reminds of the saying: “as a moth to a flame” suggesting that she is drawn to danger foreshadowing the idea that Blanche may lead herself to her own destruction. This leads the audience to wonder that if she is so innocent and pure then what is that that would lead her to cause her own destruction? A further dramatic technique Tennessee Williams uses to bring out Blanche’s flaw and our admiration is contrast of characterisation. Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowlaski (her sister’s husband) have many aspects of their characters which are contrasted to emphasise their differences, create tension and effectively lead to conflict between the characters. Stanley is described as being common: “I was common”.

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