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Stanley Kowalski’s Violence in A Streetcar Named Desire Essay

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Stanley Kowalski’s Violence in A Streetcar Named Desire
In the play, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, a main theme was domestic violence and how women were not respected before the 1970’s. Beating your wife was considered “family matters” and many people ignored this huge issue. Women were supposed to take care of the situation by themselves or ignore it. Ruby Cohn argues that Stanley is the “protector of the family” and that his cruelest gesture in the play is “to tear the paper lantern off the light bulb” (Bloom 15). Even though critics tend to ignore the ongoing domestic violence occurring in the play, it is a huge issue that even the characters in the play choose to ignore. This issue does not surface because of the arrival of Blanche and her lunacy. While the audience concentrates on Blanche’s crumbling sanity, it virtually ignores Stanley's violence.
As Stanley continues torturing Blanche and draws Stella and Mitch away from her, Blanche’s sanity slowly dwindles. Even though she lied throughout the play, her dishonesty becomes more noticeable and irrational due to Stanley's torment about her horrible past. After dealing with the deaths of her whole family, she loses Belle Reve, the estate on which her and her sister grew up. This is too much for Blanche to handle causing her moral vision to be blurred by “her desperate need to be with someone, with ancestors for models who indulged in “epic fornications” with impunity, [Blanche] moves through the world filling the void in her life with lust” (Kataria 2). She also loses a young husband who killed himself after she found out he was gay when she caught him with another man. After that traumatic experience she needed “a cosy nook to squirm herself into because ...


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...ices, such an attempt to elicit sympathy for this monster falls short” (Bell 2). Stanley is looked at as the monster of the play which is how he should be viewed. Luck was not on Blanches side through her life which made her make the mistakes she made. Even though her past was not clean, Stanley did not purge her of this. He tried to show her the reality of the world, but through his brutal treatment, only made her sensibility worse. Stanley is a primitive ape-like man, driven only by instinct, who views women as objects and has no respect for others. He is a wife batter and a rapist who is responsible for the crumbling sanity of Blanche who is “the last victim of the Old South, one who inherits the trappings of that grand society but pays the final price for the inability to adapt to a modern world that seeks to wipe grace and gentility out of existence” (Bell 2).



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