Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie

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Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie If The Glass Menagerie were performed without the effects Williams wrote into the script, then the play would barely have a plot. Williams' use of music, lighting and a television screen add depth and meaning to the play. He uses effects to portray the feelings of the characters, rather than their words or actions. In Tom's opening speech he states that'The play is memory.' Because it is about his memories of his mother and her memories. They both spend the play living in the past. Tom is obviously living in the past because the play is based around 'post-war Tom's' memories of his life prior to the war when he was living with Amanda and Laura. Amanda seems to be divided between her world as an abandoned mother of two, and her youth back in Blue Mountain. When Amanda first appears in the play, so does the legend on the television screen 'Ou sont les neiges' and later, 'Ou sont les neiges d'antan?' which means 'where are the snows' and 'where are the snows of yesteryear?' this emphasises the idea that Amanda is longing for the past. She then begins to tell her children- and judging by Tom's reaction, for the hundredth time- of her youth and her many gentlemen callers and how wonderful her life was. The Glass Menagerie is a very static play, the audience do not leave the two rooms of their apartment and the characters lives are so uninteresting the highest point of the play is when a gentleman comes to the house for dinner. The family have become so consumed by the pressure and worries of the American depression, that their lives have become monotonous and lacklustre. Their struggle for survival is so apparent, that their dreams and life have been oppres... ... middle of paper ... ...s played to express Laura's silent fears but other music is played in other scenes to express general feelings. For example in scene five, dance music called 'The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise', this is used to show society's general lack of motivation not just the family's. The last scene of the play is when Tom storms out of the apartment and he is standing on the stairs telling the audience what he then went on to do. In the background is Amanda comforting her daughter, and it is not a side that the audience has witnessed of Amanda before. This final moment is obviously a very important moment for Amanda and Laura because they are bonding, yet Williams has this scene in silence. This silence does not devalue this moment between the two at all, but makes it more powerful, because acts speak louder than words, hence 'A play is not just language...'.
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