Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie as a Tragedy Essay

Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie as a Tragedy Essay

Length: 1493 words (4.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie as a Tragedy


The Glass Menagerie has, of course, been labelled as many different
types of play, for one, a tragedy. At first glance it is clear that
audiences today may, indeed, class it as such. However, if, looking at
the traditional definition of the classification 'tragedy', one can
more easily assess whether or not the Glass Menagerie fits under this
title.

To do this I will be using the views of Aristotle, the Greek
philosopher, who first defined the word 'tragedy' and in his views, a
tragedy contained certain, distinctive characteristics. His work was
written in between 384 and 222 BC, and his views were taken on by some
of the more traditional playwrights, such as William Shakespeare. As I
develop through this essay, it will be clear to see how Shakespeare's
tragedies indeed fit into Aristotle's definitions.

To begin with, in order for a play to be a tragedy, it must involve
'an action that is serious' Aristotle argues. I believe that, in
relation to the Glass Menagerie, it is certainly one that William's
has used, as the whole situation that the Wingfields find themselves
in does appear to be very serious indeed. The world is looming upon
World War II, and America has hit the Great Depression. The whole of
the United States is stricken by poverty. Therefore, it is not only
the Wingfield family, but indeed all families, who are in this serious
situation.
To add a little more detailed analysis into the actual characters, I
would suggest that they each have their own very serious, almost
disturbing problems. To begin, Tom has an unnatural desire to escape,
and leave his famil...


... middle of paper ...


...e play. The whole of Amanda's existence is to find
a gentleman caller, through Tom, for her daughter. This is the main
point of the play, involving every character, and which, when not
accomplished, tears the family apart.

Therefore, I would argue that time, place and action of the play are
actually fairly united, even though it does not appear this way at
first.

After examining Aristotle's views I would define the play as tragedy.
Although the Glass Menagerie does not consist entirely of his views,
the main points are clearly there, as I have discussed, and
consequentially agree with the critic's argument.

Works Cited:

Williams, Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie. In Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing, 4th ed. Ed. Edgar V. Roberts and Henry E. Jacobs. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1995. 1519-1568.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Glass Menagerie By Tennessee Williams Essay

- The play The Glass Menagerie, written by Tennessee Williams in 1943, is a story of a family thrown by fate in a big industrial city. In the author 's foreword Williams calls his work a “memory play”, and while seeking to express life as truthfully and brightly as possible, he rejects such artistic means as a "photographic likeness." The play is based on the nuances, hints, and is rich with symbols that is created by special design, using the screen, music and lighting. Undoubtedly, symbols are the glass unicorn and blue roses that appear on the screen as a symbol of uniqueness and vulnerability of Laura - the most touchy and unfortunate character in the play....   [tags: The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams, Complex]

Powerful Essays
1002 words (2.9 pages)

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams Essay

- The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams -Joseph K. Davis, " Landscapes of the Dislocated Mind in Williams' 'The Glass Menagerie'," in Tennessee Williams: A Tribute Tom and his sister Laura is symbolically the actual glass menagerie, the play belongs to neither of them. The play belongs to their mother, Amanda, as substantiated by the above quote from Joseph K. Davis. Amanda indulges herself in memories of the past and refuses to accept the present. The play is also hers because it is her "tragedy"....   [tags: Glass Menagerie Tennessee Williams Essays]

Powerful Essays
1437 words (4.1 pages)

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams Essay

- Amanda Wingfield in the play, The Glass Menagerie, written by Tennessee Williams, was portrayed as a distraught southern belle trying to control the lives of her children. In The Glass Menagerie Amanda is the matriarch of her small family who appears at first to be a woman who cared about her children’s futures- that is before she becomes so overbearing that she started to hinder her children’s future. Amanda was a single mother who could never grasp reality. The Glass Menagerie was a memory play that told of a family trapped in destructive patterns....   [tags: Williams Glass Menagerie]

Powerful Essays
1966 words (5.6 pages)

The Glass Unicorn's Symbolism by Tennesse Williams Essay

- The Glass Menagerie is a modern American play written by Tennessee Williams in 1944. The Glass Menagerie entails the genre of tragedy and family drama in the aftermath of The Great Depression. The play is based off of the narrator and protagonist, Tom Wingfield’s, memory. Williams uses several symbols throughout the play, but he focuses mainly on the title of the play as the most important symbol throughout. As the title of the play tells us, glass menagerie are collections of glass animals. Laura Wingfeild, Tom’s sister in the play, is the collector of these little glass animals....   [tags: tragedy, family drama]

Powerful Essays
743 words (2.1 pages)

Many Elements of Tragedy in Streetcar Names Desire by Tennessee Williams

- ... “You didn’t know Blanche as a girl,” she argues. “Nobody, nobody, was tender and trusting as she was”. Blanche did not try to hide her feelings towards her sister's husband Stanley. She referred to him as common and sub human. Stanley is trying to convince his wife that everything was better before her sister arrived. Stanley tries his hardest to get Stella to ask her sister to leave, and he continuously did it. Hovis thinks that Stella remained passive throughout the play. The worlds of Stanley Kowalski and Blanche DuBois could never diametrically meet....   [tags: pulitzer prize, victim, critics]

Powerful Essays
2540 words (7.3 pages)

Misguided Love in The Glass Menagerie Essay

- Misguided Love in The Glass Menagerie The Glass Menagerie, written by playwright Tennessee Williams, is the story of a family torn apart by heartbreak from the past and tragedy from the present. Williams' parallels this play to his true life experience with his own family, which makes The Glass Menagerie an even more tragic version of what happens to a family when love is lost and abandonment is reality. Providing for a family can be an overwhelming responsibility, for there are many pitfalls along the way, some families are able to cope, some are not, and The Glass Menagerie gives us insight into what truly happens to a family when faced with abandonment....   [tags: Glass Menagerie essays]

Powerful Essays
1390 words (4 pages)

The Failure of Amanda in The Glass Menagerie Essay example

- The Failure of Amanda in The Glass Menagerie In Tennessee Williams’, “The Glass Menagerie” Amanda was a woman who liked to reminisce about the past in order to escape from reality. Amanda was not wicked but intensely flawed. Her failures were centrally responsible for the adversity and exaggerated style of her character. Certainly, she had the endurance and heroism that she was able to support her children when her husband was gone. In her old life, she was once a Southern Belle with a genteel manner who lived on Blue Mountain....   [tags: The Glass Menagerie Literature Essays]

Powerful Essays
1095 words (3.1 pages)

Essay about The Glass Menagerie By Tennessee Williams

- The Escape “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams is a play about desire to escape and this concept is conveyed through a variety of techniques and ideas shown in this play of exploration by the playwright, Tom Wingfield. First, Jim tries to escape his engagement by having a romantic night with Laura. Then, Tom’s father escapes for the same reasons Tom did. Thirdly, according to Roger Boxill from ‘The Glass Menagerie’ Amanda escapes by reminiscing “Blue Mountain ... And the seventeen gentleman callers.” Fourthly, Laura escapes with romance, going for walks, her “Glass Menagerie, stomach pain, and the broken horn from the unicorn....   [tags: The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams]

Powerful Essays
2322 words (6.6 pages)

The Glass Menagerie By Tennessee Williams Essay

- Most objects are often regarded based on its physical appearance but often more times than not there is a deeper meaning behind them. Objects often have more symbolic meanings to them than what meets the eye, and if we take the time to really look below the surface we can often come to a much deeper understanding. In “The Glass Menagerie” written by Tennessee Williams, he uses a glass unicorn to symbolize one of the main characters, Laura Wingfield, to represent her life as an outcast, her fragility, and her prosperous ways when she is in the right company....   [tags: The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams]

Powerful Essays
735 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on The Glass Menagerie By Tennessee Williams

- The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams was a memory play written in 1941. The small cast of characters included Amanda, a southern belle who still lives in the past of her younger days. Tom, the dedicated son who took over his father’s role as the man of the house once his father left. Laura the timid, shy daughter who with a mild physical defect lived a self-induced secluded life and the one gentleman caller Jim, who later in the play we find out that he was not really a caller for Laura at all....   [tags: The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams]

Powerful Essays
711 words (2 pages)