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The Complex Character of Amanda in The Glass Menagerie Essay example

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The Complex Character of Amanda in The Glass Menagerie

 
Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie furnishes an excellent example of a carefully crafted, complex character whose speech and action arise from the "psychological" being created by the playwright.

In his character description, Tennessee Williams starts his reader on the road to discovering Amanda's complexity.

AMANDA WINGFIELD the mother. A little woman of great but confused vitality clinging frantically to another time and place. Her characterization must be carefully created, not copied from type. She is not paranoiac, but her life is paranoia. There is much to admire in Amanda, and as much to love and pity as there is to laugh at. Certainly she has endurance and a kind of heroism, and though her foolishness makes her unwittingly cruel at times, there is tenderness in her slight person. (Williams 781)

“Before the first lines are spoken Amanda's complexity is established”(Falk 126) by the nuances and contrasts given here. This basic description must be laid over all dialogue and action throughout the play so as to preserve the fullness of Amanda's character at times when only portions of her nature are being exhibited.

            The complexity of Amanda's character directly affects her action and dialogue with her children. In her role as mother she exhibits an overwhelming desire to see her children succeed in life. In trying to...


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...ding Plays. Boston: Allyn, 1990. 307-314.

Bigsby, C.W.E. A Critical Introduction to Twentieth-Century American Drama. Vol. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1984.

Falk, Signi. "The Southern Gentlewoman." Modern Critical Interpretations Tennessee Williams The Glass Menagerie. ed. Harold Bloom. NY: Chelsea House Publishers, 1988.

Jackson, Esther Merle. The Broken World of Tennessee Williams. Madison: & of Wisconsin P, 1965.

Parker, R.B., ed. Twentieth Century Interpretations of The Glass Menagerie. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice, 1983.

Williams, Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie. Masterpieces of the Drama. Ed. Alexander W. Allison, Arthus J. Carr, Arthur M. Eastman. 5th ed. NY: Macmillan, 1986. 779- 814.


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