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Tennessee Williams' Use of Imagery and Symbolism in A Streetcar Named Desire

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Tennessee Williams' Use of Imagery and Symbolism in A Streetcar Named Desire

Throughout the play symbolism is used to capture attention and to
appeal to viewers' emotions. It is expressed through music, colour and
imagery all of which help to heighten tension and reflect the
atmosphere created by an impending force.

The actions involved in the development of imagery and symbolism in
the characters are, for example, Blanche's sitting, her whisky
drinking, her jumping, etc, actions which show her nervous personality
of a stressed woman. "Blanche sits in a chair very stiffly with her
shoulders slightly hunched and her legs pressed together…as if she
were quite cold…" (page 6). Then her falling or slumping may show,
apart from her stress, her insecurity and unpredictability. Then
Stanley's throwing of the meat to Stella shows the male dominance of
those times, the little respect towards women. Playing poker gives
reference to gambling and therefore risk, maybe the risk of Stanley
losing Stella due to his treatment towards her, the risk of Blanche
being discovered about her lies, or the risk of Blanche ending up
having sex with Mitch or Stanley. When Stanley undresses in front of
Blanche, Williams suggests sexual intentions and the same happens when
Blanche asks Stanley to help her dressing up. This is imagery intended
to make the viewers see that there is more behind these simple tasks
and actions, and that in fact there is almost always more to read into
a Scene (in William's plays) that what is obvious.

A very dominant symbol used throughout the play is music. It portrays
Blanche's headlong descent into disaster, which is inevit...


... middle of paper ...


...nd
throughout the play is highly metaphorical as it illustrates the
dominant Stanley who eventually succeeds in his conquest over the more
submissive Blanche.

The distorted shapes on the walls and the jungle cries, symbolise
human cruelty while the menacing lurid shadows and reflections
increase as Blanche becomes more panicked. It is evidence of her
hysteria and insanity and an indication of the effect that the terrors
of the night Allan died are still with her.

Stanley is the human symbol for the relentless fate that gradually
breaks her down. William's uses imagery and symbolism to great
dramatic effect throughout the whole play, in dialogue and largely in
stage directions, this gives the play a complex story, and when many
hidden symbols and metaphors are discovered, opens many new aspects of
the story.


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