In Tennessee Williams’ play A Streetcar Named Desire, main character Blanche Dubois to begin with seems to be a nearly perfect model of a classy woman whose social interaction, life and behavior are based upon her sophistication. The play revolves around her, therefore the main theme of drama concerns her directly. In Blanche is seen the misfortune of a person caught between two worlds-the world of the past and the world of the present-unwilling to let go of the past and unable, because of her character, to come to any sort of terms with the present.
Symbolism is greatly used in the play to emphasize Blanche’s mental instability, this is most evidently found in the use of colors and shading. The first example of this is in both her name Blanche Dubois, which in French means white and her last name woods, this translates to ‘white woods’ and the fact that she dresses entirely in white upon her arrival. The color white symbolizes, purity, health and virginity, which in spite of the irony, this is the image she attempts to exhibit. This is her trying to appear new and fresh. There is noticeable symbolism that metaphorically taints this white purity, such of that in scene five when Blanche spills coke on her white dress. She frantically tries to remove it, she wishes to remove this so it doesn’t stain her. Like she sees how her past has. The fact that she has slept with so many men and this spill shows how she is in fact corrupt and stained with her past. This symbolism is an early suspicion to her insanity and promiscuous past which is only unraveled later in the play. We as such may not intentionally see this from the start. Only the illusory image, which she tries to create for herself, suggests the...
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... coming to terms with reality.
To conclude, the author portrays Blanche’s deteriorating mental state throughout the play and by the end it has disappeared, she is in such a mental state that doctors take her away. Even at this stage she is still completely un-aware of her surroundings and the state she is in herself.
I believe that Williams passes on a strong message through the play, “Desire deteriorates our lives while our greatest fears stare us in the eye, the only reward we find is in knowing why we regret.” In the end, Blanche Dubois of A Streetcar Named Desire is a tragic figure. All she ever desired was a good, clean life. What she acquired was pain and illusion. One can only be relieved that Blanche finally emptied her secrets and came clean. Whether she ever actually got what she wanted or not, at least her torture even ours conclusively came to an end.
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