Analysis Of ' A Streetcar Named Desire ' Essay

Analysis Of ' A Streetcar Named Desire ' Essay

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A Streetcar Named Desire sets the decaying values of the antebellum South against those of the new America. The civil, kindly ways of Blanche’s past are a marked contrast to the rough, dynamic New Orleans inhabited by Stella and Stanley, which leads Tennessee Williams’s “tragedy of incomprehension” (qtd. in Alder, 48). The central protagonist, Blanche, has many flaws; she lies, is vain and deceitful, yet can be witty and sardonic. These multifaceted layers balance what Jessica Tandy, who played Blanche in the first stage production in 1947, “saw as her ‘pathetic elegance’ . . . ‘indomitable spirit and ‘innate tenderness’” (Alder 49). Through a connected sequence of vignettes, our performance presented a deconstruction of Blanche that revealed the lack of comprehension and understanding her different facets and personas created. Initially Blanche is aware of what she is doing and reveals only what she believes the others need to know. Whereas Mitch and Stella do not see through her, Stanley does. Although they are from ‘opposite sides of the street’, he understands and feels threatened by her. As the play progresses Blanche, like Williams’s moth, finds herself drawn to the dangerous light; the place where she is most vulnerable and which will force her acknowledgement of the truth and allow her neurosis to take over.
Williams agreed, “Blanche was in some ways a projection of his sense of himself” (Hern xxxii) and we incorporated this connection into the performance by placing him on stage at the start through to the end of the performance to delineate the story arc. In hindsight, some concluding lines would have strengthened this as well as the ending. The central vignettes focussed on Blanche’s key relationships with Stanley, Mitc...

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...d in the second vignette as it is a recurring motif “forever associated in Blanche’s mind with the betrayal of love and the death of a loved one” (Alder 71). Described by Irene Selznick as Blanche’s “memory music . . . this was the first musical element William’s integrated into the draft play’s scripts” (Davison 402). Deliberate incorporation of only fragments of the melody demonstrated “the disintegration of Blanche’s mental state” (404).
Blanche’s tragedy lies, not in the will of the Gods, but in the hands of those on stage. There are many ‘if only’ moments that, had they been acted upon would have altered the divided state of Blanche’s crumbling world. The incomprehension of the characters and their inability to act differently exposes the lonely superficiality of “a person who hasn´t known any sorrow” (scene 3, 29,) and the self-destructive nature of humanity.

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