Blanche Dubois, the Tragic Hero in Tennessee Williamʼs A Streetcar Named Desire

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A tragic hero is the main character in a tragedy, which usually involves the notion that such a hero makes an error in his or her actions that leads to his or her downfall. Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire would be a perfect example of a tragic hero. She invokes pity as a tragic hero, revealing in the end that her innocence is ethereal and is easily destroyed by the harsh, but real, world. Throughout the play, Blanche attempts to persuade people that she is a pure, elegant lady; however, this is merely a facade. Beneath her illusions of social snobbery and sexual propriety, Blanche is an insecure individual. She carries many problems from drinking all the way to sex addictions. All of these flaws only multiply throughout the story, and in the end she is left alone.

From the beginning of Blanche’s adulthood, she never had the perfect life. Blanche fell in love with what she thought was a wonderful man. She married and later the marriage fell apart due to a tragic event. One day as she entered her room, she shockingly found her husband in bed with an older man. She had built up so much love for this young man, but now she was disgusted. She expresses how disgusted and disappointed in him she is. Following this event, Blanche heard a gunshot. Because of all the agony and embarrassment of her husband, he took his own life. Blanche cannot get over this; she blames herself for his untimely death. This early tragic event affected the rest of Blanche’s life. We know Blanche has problems when she quotes, "I want to be near you, got to be with somebody, I can't be alone! Because as you must have noticed, I'm not very well.”

Shortly after the first incident, more problems arose for Blanche. Blanche had to deal with a...

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...comfort, Stella and her husband only brought her down more. Blanche thought she may have found a man, and Stanley ruined that. In the end, the rape from Stanley brought her down to rock bottom. The one person she thought she had was not there for her at all. All of these incidents played a huge role in Blanche being a tragic hero.

Aristotle said that the best tragic plot moves the hero from prosperity to misfortune, occasioned not by depravity, but by some great mistake he makes. He says there are essential qualities of a tragic hero including goodness, appropriateness, lifelike and consistency. Blanche Dubois from A Streetcar Named Desire is a very good example for this kind of tragic hero. Blanche is shown to be too kind and too delicate to live in the realistic world. When her illusions in the Kowalski household were crashed down, she also crashed down.

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