Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire is considered by many critics to be a “flawed” masterpiece. This is because William’s work utilizes and wonderfully blends both tragic and comic elements that serve to shroud the true nature of the hero and heroine, thereby not allowing the reader to judge them on solid actuality. Hence, Williams has been compared to writers such as Shakespeare who, in literature, have created a sense of ambiguity and uncertainty in finding a sole “view or aspect ” in their works. Because of the highly tragic elements encountered in Streetcar, many immediately label it a tragedy. Nevertheless, the immense comical circumstances encountered in the play contradict the sole role of tragedy and leave the reader pondering the true nature of the work, the question being whether it is a tragedy with accidental comic incidences or a comedy with weak melodramatic occurrences.
It has been said that the “double mask of tragicomedy reveals the polarity of the human condition”(Adler 47). The contrariety of forces in the work serves to enforce a sense of both reality and drama that are present in everyday human life. The comic elements in the play serve as a form of determined self-preservation just as the tragic elements add to the notion of self-destruction. This is the true nature of a tragicomedy. By juxtaposing two irreconcilable positions, ambiguity is produced in the judgment of the main characters, most notably Stanley Kowalski and Blanche Dubois (Riddell 83).
Ambivalence in the play is largely caused by the relationship between Stanley and Blanche. They concurrently produce both appalling and appealing tendencies. Both characters display elements o...
... middle of paper ...
...ilable forces come face to face. The two opposing forces are destined to become locked in a death grip and society will be the loser.
Adler, Thomas P. A Streetcar Named Desire: The Moth and the Lantern. New York: Twayne, 1990.
Baym, Nina et al, eds. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: WW Norton & Co., 1995.
Falk, Signi. Twentieth Century Interpretations of A Streetcar Named Desire. Ed. Jordan Miller. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1971.
Riddell, Joseph. Twentieth Century Interpretations of A Streetcar Named Desire. Ed. Jordan Miller. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1971.
Szeliski, John T. von. Twentieth Century Interpretations of A Streetcar Named Desire. Ed. Jordan Miller. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1971.
Williams, Tennessee. The Theatre of Tennessee Williams. New York: New Directions, 1971.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- In Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, the characters are extremely well defined. In fact, they are so well defined obtuse critics have characterized them as two-dimensional, but Williams drew them that way intentionally so as to underscore the flaws that make their characters so memorable. Blanche is an aging single Southern woman whose best days are in the past. Blanche has not been able to make the adjustment from when she was the belle of the county at Belle Reeve, her family's southern home, to the harsh realities of her present situation, one in which she has always "depended on the kindness of strangers" (142). All of her attempts at living in reality involve he... [tags: Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire]
1355 words (3.9 pages)
- Background intro Attributes of comedy and tragedy blend into a new form of drama – tragicomedy. Not to be confused with black comedy or dark humor, tragicomedy is not a “parody of tragedy”(Roche) Tragicomedy, according to Karl Guthke, is “an ambiguous work that integrates tragic and comic moments simultaneously and in tension with one another.” (Roche) While other sources consider tragicomedy as a “loose mix of succeeding moments of tragic and comedic moments.”(Roche) Nonetheless, the definition of what a tragicomedy is lies in the literary elements of tragedy and comedy elements and how both draw in complexity of human emotions and actions.... [tags: trigicomedy, black comedy, hubris]
1756 words (5 pages)
- The Comedy and Tragedy of A Streetcar Named Desire and The Master Builder It has been said that the world is a comedy to those that think, and a tragedy to those who feel. This philosophy is supported by two important literary works, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams and The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen. In each piece, the sensitive and emotional characters experience tremendous pain, while the cold and unfeeling characters are simply amused by the pain of others. In A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams shows two characters who have very different experiences of the world.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
727 words (2.1 pages)
- Males tend to have love-Hate relationship in Tennessee Williams’ and William Shakespeare’s plays. Stanley from A Street Car Named Desire was a gruff, hardworking blue collar man, who has been living the married life for a decent amount of time to his wife Stella. Othello on the other hand was a man that was a highly ranked in the military, and seen as a highly respected man; Until Othello smothered his newly married wife Desdemona to death. Both of these men may have been from different time periods but they are the same when it comes to their attitudes towards leadership, treatment of women, and their way to confirm assumptions.... [tags: A Streetcar Named Desire Essays]
1310 words (3.7 pages)
- Tennessee Williams was born Thomas Lanier Williams in 1911. As a successful playwright, his career was greatly influenced by events in his life. He was noted for bringing the reader "a slice of his own life and the feel of southern culture", as his primary sources of inspiration were "the writers he grew up with, his family, and the South." The connection between his life and his work can be seen in several of his plays. One strong influence that is evident in Tennessee Williams' plays is his family life, which was "full of tension and despair". His father, a businessman who owned a show warehouse, was known for his gambling and drinking habits. He was often engaged with violent argume... [tags: Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire]
479 words (1.4 pages)
- The most obvious symbol used in A Streetcar Named Desire is its title and the actual reference, in the play, to the streetcars named Desire and Cemeteries. They are the means by which Blanche was brought to the home of Stanley and Stella and, as the play unfolds, we realize the names of the streetcars have a greater significance. Blanche's instructions were to “take a streetcar named Desire, and then transfer to one called Cemeteries." When Blanche first arrives she is possessed by a desire for love and understanding, but always in the background lurks the fear of death and destruction.... [tags: Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire]
786 words (2.2 pages)
- Tennessee William's novel, A Streetcar Named Desire, is the story of the brutish Stanley Kowalski and his meek wife Stella, a New Orleans couple whose lives are turned upside down with the arrival of Stella's neurotic, Southern belle sister Blanche who is immediately drawn into a battle of wills with Stanley. Blanche's childlike helplessness, romantic desires, and pretensions to aristocracy completely collapse when Stanley's ruthless exposure of her past brings about Blanche's final disintegration.... [tags: Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire]
930 words (2.7 pages)
- After two world wars, the balance of power between the genders in America had completely shifted. Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire is a harsh, yet powerful play that exposes the reality of the gender struggle. Williams illustrates society’s changing attitudes towards masculinity and femininity through his eloquent use of dramatic devices such as characterization, dialogue, setting, symbolism, and foreshadowing. Stanley, the protagonist, is a symbol for society’s view of the stereotypical male.... [tags: Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire]
1937 words (5.5 pages)
- A Streetcar Named Desire In what way can A Streetcar Named Desire be seen as an exploration of”old” America versus the “new” America. In the play, Blanche represents old America and Stanley represents new America. Why Blanche represents old America is because of her way of thinking, lifestyle and values. When Blanche walks into the room where the guys are playing poker, there is a great example of how Blanche represents old and Stanley new. When she walks in, the guys are sitting around the table, then Blanche says “Please don’t get up”.... [tags: A Streetcar Named Desire Essays]
1718 words (4.9 pages)
- A Streetcar Named Desire, written by Tennessee Williams in 1947, has been called the best play written by an American. The setting of the play, New Orleans, creates a blended mood of decadence, nostalgia, and sensuality. The plot of the play comes about through the conflict between a man and his sister-in-law who comes to live at his house with he and his wife. Stanley and Blanche immediately capture the attention of the audience through Williams' portrayal of the intensely strong willed characters.... [tags: A Streetcar Named Desire Essays]
328 words (0.9 pages)