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Explore the varied dramatic uses Williams makes of death and dying in the play. Refer to at least two extracts from the play in your answer.

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Introduction

"Death is my best theme, don't you think?" (Tennessee Williams) Explore the varied dramatic uses Williams makes of death and dying in the play. Refer to at least two extracts from the play in your answer. Tennessee Williams uses the theme of death continually in the play 'A Streetcar Named Desire' through the use of dramatic imagery and literal references. The characters of Blanche and Mitch are used the most frequently to express Williams' own obsession with death. Though neither of the characters actually obsesses about death, Blanche's life has been smothered by the deaths of those she loves and the coming death of Mitch's mother is an obvious motivation for his actions. Blanche first voices the theme of death in the very first scene whilst discussing the fate that has befallen Belle Reve. She passionately raves at length about the horrible deaths and her experience of loved ones dying around her; "all of those deaths... Father, Mother, Margaret, that dreadful way!" The horrific visions of bloated bodies and "the struggle for breath and breathing" have clearly cast a permanent effect on Blanche's mind. ...read more.

Middle

She then reminisces to herself about the bloodstained pillowcases and how the family had become too poor to afford a servant to look after the dying for them. Blanche remembers how she and her mother sat at opposite ends of the room while death was so close and yet they pretended it wasn't there, acted as if they had never seen or heard of it, which reveals how Blanche's life revolved around trying to escape from the death and the dying. Later in the play Blanche significantly talks in detail about her own death to Stella and Eunice whilst waiting for Shep Huntleigh. This speech summarises Blanche's character as Williams makes use of imagery to show how she will die as a result of eating an unwashed grape. Blanche's statement shows that she knows that the simplest of things can lead to complicated tragedies and reflects how her own life has been made up of a series of tragic experiences that have gradually built up, resulting in the emotional, melodramatic person Blanche has become. ...read more.

Conclusion

He tells her it was given to him by his sweetheart, who knew she was dying when she gave it to him and who he describes as "a strange girl, very sweet". Blanche then states "the little there is belongs to people who have experienced some sorrow," which Mitch agrees with, thus revealing that he has been affected by the loss of this girl. This statement also emphasises much of Blanche's own views on sorrow and explains how it has affected her life since she has made the comment from personal experience. To conclude, Tennessee Williams' dramatic use of death and dying is an overarching theme in 'A Streetcar Named Desire,' from which everything about Blanche's character has formed from. Without the death of Allan, Blanche would not have resorted to prostitution and the brief affairs with strangers, also the deaths of her family have driven Blanche to Stella's where she is "not wanted" and "ashamed to be". Therefore these dramatic deaths have lead to the past which comes back to haunt Blanche meaning that she can never find happiness until she dies and is forgotten. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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