Essay on The Tragic Character of Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire

Essay on The Tragic Character of Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire

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The Tragic Character of Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire
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To state the obvious, a tragic agent is one that is the subject of a tragic event or happening. In A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanche Dubois is this agent. She experiences numerous things, and has certain dynamics that solidify her tragic elements. Many essayists describe these elements and they give clear conceptions of her tragic nature.
Aristotle has written of many qualities one must have in order to fit in the "tragic" category. Firstly, Aristotle contends that a tragic agent must be "of the nobility". Now this is not to say that Blanche is of a royal descent, although she acts like it, but it has been interpreted as "one who is of a noble cause or intent". Contrary to the way it seems Blanche enters her sister's home with a selfish, but noble action. She is there to "get back on her feet", even though she doesn't tell her hosts this. This is one of the reasons she fits Aristotle's description. Secondly, Blanche has the four parts of a tragic character that Aristotle lays out. She is good. Good in the sense that what she says and does is done with conviction and careful choice. Blanche is appropriate. Her character exhibits the natural wants and needs of a woman in her disposition. Also, she is realistic. In saying she is realistic, it means that she, as a whole, is presented in a way that is not unbelievable. Lastly, Blanche is consistent. Throughout the course of the play, she continues toward the same goal. Her consistent quality lies in her insatiable appetite for attention among other things. Aristotle's third point lies in Blanche's "inevitable reversal". Through the scenes, the spectator learns of her bad reputation as being somewhat...


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...putation, so that she could walk with some dignity.
In my personal opinion, I felt that Schopenhauer had the clearest description of Blanche's character. The irony of the title in comparison with Schopenhauer's idea of desire being a burden was too great for me to ignore. I think Williams chose his words very carefully, and he named that streetcar Desire for a reason. In this sense, Schopenhauer seems to have the most accurate perspective on this play. If I were doing the play, special attention would be brought to Blanche's constant ignorance of her reasons for visiting. I think this would be helpful in understanding her secret desires and would ultimately contribute to the overall understanding of her mystery. I also find great importance in her last line, as said before, and would make sure that the spectator understood that Blanche DuBois had finally changed.

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