Ethical Lessons in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

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A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams is a play about a woman named Blanche Dubois who is in misplaced circumstances. Her life is lived through fantasies, the remembrance of her lost husband and the resentment that she feels for her brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski. Various moral and ethical lessons arise in this play such as: Lying ultimately gets you nowhere, Abuse is never good, Treat people how you want to be treated, Stay true to yourself and Don’t judge a book by its cover.
A very important moral lesson that I gained from A Streetcar Named Desire is to always tell the truth. Telling lies ultimately got Blanche Dubois nowhere. She was lonelier than ever at the end of the play. She starts off lying intentionally. For example, she tells Stella at the beginning that the school superintendent, “suggested I take a leave of absence” from her job as a teacher (Williams 14). In reality, the principal fired her for having an affair with a student. It is suspected that she is lying and later our suspicions are confirmed. Even though a reason isn’t mentioned as to why she lies, it is probably to save herself grief from her sister or to possibly keep up her appearance. Towards the end, Blanche says she received a telegram from “an old admirer of mine... An old beau” who invited her to “A cruise of the Caribbean on a yacht” (Williams 152, 153). At this point, she even begins to believe her own lies. She has lied for so long to others and even to herself that she ultimately ends up believing them. When Tennessee Williams shows us through the sound of the polka music and the shadows on the wall what is going on in Blanche’s head, we are left to wonder if something is truly wrong. She even told Mitch that she didn’t lie in her ...

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... way. A Streetcar Named Desire shows us the perfect lesson of not to judge a book by its cover, because in reality they may be a mess. Nobody has any idea as to what is going on inside a person, unless you get to know them.
Not judging someone on their outward appearance, Lying ultimately gets you nowhere, Abusing people is never good, Treating people how you would like to be treated, and Staying true to yourself are just some of the moral and ethical lessons that I gathered from A Streetcar Named Desire. Published in 1946, this play shed light on the middle and lower classes around the time of the Great Depression. Some of these lessons arise because the nation was ready to embrace the “old fashioned values” of the home and families after World War II took place.

Works Cited

Williams, Tennessee. A Streetcar Named Desire. New York: New Directions, 1980. Print.
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