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How effectively does Williams establish the theme of conflict in the play A Streetcar Named Desire?

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How effectively does Williams establish the theme of conflict in the play? In the play A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, one of the prevalent themes is conflict. This arises between his two main characters, Blanche and Stanley, and is established from the outset of the play. The conflict is not just between these two characters, but is also representative of the clash in the two concepts of the old and new in the American Deep South. Williams explores this conflict through characterisation, stage directions and symbolism. Williams first establishes this conflict in Scene One when we are first introduced to the character of Stanley as he returns home to Stella with a package of meat: "he heaves the red stained package at her" In these stage directions Williams introduces Stanley as the alpha male, who, like the hunter-gatherer, is returning with the meat to the home. ...read more.


Shortly after the characters are introduced, the conflict begins: "You see, under the Napoleonic code - a man has to take an interest into his wife's affairs" Throughout scene 2, Stanley continues to make references to the Napoleonic code. This highlights to the audience that this growing conflict is one due to difference of gender, ownership and territory. Already Stanley is suspecting of Blanches character, and wishes rid of Blanche. The third scene is opened with the men's game of poker, the woman then return home from their evening out, interrupting their game: "Poker shouldn't be played in a house with women." Mitch is adamant that poker is the cause of Stanley's aggression. The poker game shows the audience about New Orleans vivid life. Stanley is currently losing the game of poker conveying to us that Stanley is currently losing the conflict with Blanche as Blanche takes the attention of his friend. ...read more.


As scene five begins, the audience sees a change in roles, as Stanley starts to win the fight: "What sign were you born under?" Blanche questions Stanley on his astrological sign, and we learn that he is Capricorn the goat. Williams once again emphasises Stanley's animal-like, primitive nature. Capricorns are also known to dislike the opposite sex, once more reinforcing that Blanche and Stanley's conflict is one of male verses female. Blanche then continues to discuss that her sign is Virgo the Virgin, something that Blanche pretends to be. Williams has established the conflict between Blanche and Stanley effectively in his play Streetcar Named Desire. Williams has uses key events, symbolism, word choice and scene directions to create an understanding of the conflict. The conflict is one of gender, territory and the old and new. Stella is the subject of the conflict, and when Stella makes obvious that she has chosen Stanley, and to move forward, we see Blanche's downfall begin. ...read more.

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