Relationships in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire

Relationships in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire

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Relationships in A Streetcar Named Desire  


 In many modern day relationships between a man and a woman, there is usually a controlling figure that is dominant over the other. It may be women over man, man over women, or in what the true definition of a marriage is an equal partnership. In the play A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams Stanley is clearly the more dominant figure over Stella. Throughout the play there are numerous examples of the power he possesses of her. Williams portrays Stella as a little girl who lives around in Stanley’s world. She does what he wants, takes his abuse yet still loves him. Situations likes these may have occurred in the 1950’s and lasted, but in today’s time this would only end up in a quick divorce.

 The first scene of the play (pg. 14) Stanley has just thrown a piece of meat up to Stella as he turns the corner heading for the bowling ally. He makes no motion to stop, run up the stairs and explain to his wife what’s going on, similar to what would occur in an equal relationship. Instead he continues down the street like a boy with no responsibilities. Stella yells, “Where are you going,” and then asks if she could come to watch, he agrees but doesn’t stop to wait for her. This scene demonstrates how Stella follows Stanley along, and serves him according to what he wishes to do and when he wants to do it.

 In scene three Stanley is having his poker party (pg. 57). At this point he is very drunk. Blanche distracting Stanley by listening to the radio instigates him to grab it off the table and toss it out the window. Stella in a state of panic tells everyone to go home which angers Stanley so he chases after her and hits her. This type of behavior is not normal of any human being involved in any relationship. Stanley repeatedly gets what he wants by use of any means possible. In addition the person whoever threatens the existence of his poker game receives a beating, in this case his wife.  This scene demonstrates Stanley’s viscous animal like traits with such violence. If what happened here was repeated in today’s society he would find himself in a jail cell with a pending divorce.

During the last scene of the play (pg.

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142) Blanche is being taken away by a doctor. This is an extremely emotional time for Stella. She really needs someone to comfort her. Stanley being insensitive toward her kneels down beside her and reaches under her blouse. He makes no effort to hug or hold her close to him. This demonstrates his lack of sensitivity. The idea of him reaching under blouse cries out I am the one who needs you now focus your intentions on me she is gone. Even in Stella’s time of need Stanley is there only for himself and doesn’t extend himself to his wife.

The relationship portrayed by Tennessee Williams is clearly a male dominating over the female. Here Stella is the follower to her husband Stanley. She acts in relation to him and is the one in need at all times. His desires come first and shall not be disrupted by his wife. The idea of both parties giving to each other though the sacrament of marriage is non existent. The barbaric and animal like actions of Stanley would never be tolerated in our society today. Actions like his would be treated with a divorce. But Stella’s never ending love for Stanley kept them together thought the play.
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