Preview
Preview

Symbolism In The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams Essay

No Works Cited
Length: 1821 words (5.2 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document




- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Tennessee Williams', The Glass Menagerie, is a play that evokes great sympathy and in some cases, empathy for a protagonist who struggles to overcome two opposing forces; his responsibilities and his desires. There are many symbols and non-liner references that contribute to the development of characterization, dramatic tensions and the narrative. This essay will examine in detail, the aspects of the play that contribute to the development of the above mentioned elements.
In Tom's opening addresses, he explains to the audience that the play's fifth character is his absent father –present only in the form of a picture that hangs on the wall. This picture that looms above the dining room table makes the reader visualize the Wingfield apartment as a shrine to deadbeat fatherhood. The father's presence in the Wingfield family is sustained only by a tangible medium [the portrait] while in actuality, he is no longer apart of the family. As is seen in the scene where Tom leaves home, the male figures are the ones to leave while the women stay behind where remembering becomes all that is left.
Tennessee Williams makes reference to Guernica and the tension and growing turmoil in Spain. This allusion, juxtaposed to the uneasy peace in America at the time, establishes the tense atmosphere that the play is constructed around. The Americans of the thirties lived in relative peace after recovering from World War One and already experiencing the worst of the Great Depression. However, the audience of the time would see the thirties as the calm before the storm of World War Two. This allusion –the bombing of Guernica by the Nazis, serves as a reminder that war would soon be coming to everyone; various countries all over the world. Likewise, the...


... middle of paper ...


...ls them when he leaves. Just as we cannot live without light, Laura especially, cannot live without Tom. Hence, she blows the candle out to signify that through Tom's new beginning will come her end.
Tennessee Williams uses many techniques which capture the identity of his characters and the meaning of the plays theme in tangible ways. Many of the objects and non-linear references are closely connected and have deeply rooted meaning to the characters that possess them. They are in fact, exactly like the characters who posses them. The characters and different situations throughout the scenes, embrace the theme and help exploit the hidden meaning behind their existence. Williams is careful to place each and every specific reference diligently so that it may mirror its respective character or give colour to a picture [concept] that may be seemingly hard to understand.


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Essay on Symbolism in The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams - In his drama, The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams uses symbolism in order to develop multi-faceted characters and to display the recurring themes of the play. These various symbols appear throughout the entire piece, and they are usually disguised as objects or imagery. They allow the reader to know the characters’ personalities, and their true inside characteristics. These symbols also add to the major themes, which develop as the play gains momentum. In the drama, symbols play the most important role....   [tags: The Glass Menagerie Essays]
:: 7 Works Cited
2400 words
(6.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Symbols and Symbolism in Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie Essay - Symbols and Symbolism in Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie   The Glass Menagerie illustrates how Tennessee Williams incorporates symbols to help express the central theme of the play. One of the recurring symbols, apparent throughout the play, is that of the "glass menagerie" - symbolic of Laura herself. Another symbol for Laura is the glass unicorn. Still another symbol is that of the picture of the father - symbolic of freedom. These symbols play an important part in the development of the plot, as well as the theme of the play....   [tags: Glass Menagerie Essays Williams]
:: 2 Works Cited
732 words
(2.1 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Symbolism in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams Essay - Symbolism in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams *No Works Cited In Tennessee Williams' play The Glass Menagerie; Williams used symbols to represent the reoccurring theme of the failure to accept reality. The use of the fire escape, Tom's constant visits to the movies, Jim O'Connor("the common man"),and Laura's collection of glass animals were the main symbols Williams used to achieve the escape of the characters into their own realms. Often people try to find small objects to distract them from the reality of the world....   [tags: Papers] 595 words
(1.7 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Symbolism and Crossing the Rubicon in Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie.” - The masterful use of symbolism is delightfully ubiquitous in Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie.” He uses a collection of dim, dark and shadowy symbols that constantly remind the audience of the lost opportunity each of these three characters continually experience. This symbolism is not only use to enlighten the audience to their neglected opportunities to shine, but it is also repeatedly utilized to reinforce the ways in which the characters try in vain to cross over turbulent waters into a world of light and clarity....   [tags: Literary Analysis ]
:: 2 Works Cited
1781 words
(5.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Symbolism In Tennessee William's The Glass Menagerie Essay - Symbolism In Tennessee William's The Glass Menagerie      Symbolism is a major aspect in Tennessee William's famous play, "The Glass Menagerie." On the surface, the short slice of life story seems to be simple. However, if the reader digs deeper they will find that there are several symbols that give the play a deeper meaning. Each character defines each symbol in a different way. Aside from character symbols, there is overall symbolism in this play. It is set in a memory, so it creates a soft, dream-like setting....   [tags: Tennessee Williams Glass Menagerie Essays] 1760 words
(5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Symbolism in the Glass Menagerie Essay - In “The Glass Menagerie”, written by Tennessee Williams, symbolism is very prevalent throughout the text. Laura’s glass menagerie was the most easily identifiable symbol because of how relatable it was to the world she lived in. The fire escape was also another symbol that made its presence in the play along with the dance hall that was located just outside. The candles and rainbows mentioned also have some symbolic meaning, in my opinion, which could be left to the interpretation of the reader....   [tags: Theatre, Tennessee Williams] 1265 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Importance of Symbolism in The Glass Menagerie Essay - The Importance of Symbolism in The Glass Menagerie     Tom Wingfield is the narrator and a major character in Tennessee William’s timeless play, The Glass Menagerie. Through the eyes of Tom, the viewer gets a glance into the life of his family in the pre-war depression era; his mother, a Southern belle desperately clinging to the past; his sister, a woman too fragile to function in society; and himself, a struggling, young poet working at a warehouse to pay the bills. Williams has managed to create a momentous play using a combination of different elements, including symbolism....   [tags: Glass Menagerie Tennessee Williams]
:: 5 Works Cited
1610 words
(4.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Symbolism in The Glass Menagerie - Symbolism is an integral part of every play. The author uses symbolism in order to add more depth to the play. In Tennessee Williams’ play, The Glass Menagerie, he describes three separate characters, their dreams, and the harsh realities they face in a modern world. The Glass Menagerie exposes the lost dreams of a southern family and their desperate struggle to escape reality. Everyone in the play seeks refuge from their lives, attempting to escape into an imaginary world. Williams uses the fire escape as a way for the Wingfields, the protagonists of the play, to escape their real life and live an illusionary life....   [tags: Tennessee Williams] 1021 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie Essay - Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie We all have illusions. We can hardly live without them. Most of the time they are harmless thoughts about things that are usually unattainable. An example would be when a person sees something that they want and then dreams of having it. Whenever someone holds an opinion based on what they think is true, or in some cases what should be true, rather than what actually is true, then that is an illusion. Illusions sometimes help people cope with painful situations, but in the end, illusions are only a false escape from reality....   [tags: Tennessee Williams Glass Menagerie Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1151 words
(3.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Alienation in Tennessee Williams', The Glass Menagerie Essay - Alienation in Tennessee Williams', The Glass Menagerie Life is a lonely tale of alienation, as Tennessee Williams conveys though his play, “The Glass Menagerie.” Williams surrounds Laura in isolation from a world in which they wish to belong to by using various symbols. The symbolic nature of the motifs hidden within the lines of this play provides meaning to the theme found consistent throughout the play: Individuals are all alone in the world. Williams brilliantly illuminates the idea of isolation through the symbolic use of glass....   [tags: Tennessee Williams The Glass Menagerie Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
950 words
(2.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]