A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams

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“All the characters in “A Streetcar Named Desire” are to some extent living an unreal existence”. Agree or disagree with this statement about the characters and be sure to use quotes to support your comments.

Not all the characters in “A Streetcar Named Desire” are living an unreal existence, however some are, in particular Blanche, Stella and Stanley. Blanch to some extent is living in her own fantasy world plagued with delusions and outbursts. It is quite obvious that she is living an illusion. Stella is living an unreal existence in regards to the way in which she likes to pretend she is living in a happy home. Stanley is also however to a much lesser extent living an unreal existence. He is very self-centered and towards the end he seems to be living a life nearly devoted to breaking down Blanche. We can see why and in what way these characters are living an unreal existence through exploring the major themes of this play and their relation to the characters in regards to “living an unreal existence”. These themes which will be discussed later on include reality versus illusion, confronting reality, male domination and truth versus lies.

Reality versus illusion is one of, if not the major theme of the play. It also has the most relevance to the way in which Blanche, Stanley and Stella are living in their own fantasy world. Perhaps the reason Blanche chose illusion rather than reality is because of her somewhat troubled past. When Blanche was 16 she married Alan who was 17. The impression we get of Alan is that of an attractive, gentle and kind young man. However, he had a somewhat feminine quality about him. Blanche soon finds out that he is involved in a homosexual relationship by catching him in the act. Blanche expresses her disgust and soon after Alan commits suicide by shooting himself. Already traumatized, the situation grew quickly worse when Blanche looses Belle Reve, the family estate. This proves only to worsen Blanche’s mental state to an all new low. This coupled with other events led Blanche to living with her sister Stella and her husband Stanley. Perhaps the events which had occurred led her to the edge of insanity which she was resting on during her time living with Stanley and Stella. It was easier for her to create her own fantasy world rather than to face up to reality.
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