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History is a kind of story-telling. Compare and contrast the ways in which Friel and Williams present characters who offer their own histories and concept of truth in Making History and A Streetcar Named Desire.

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Introduction

?History is a kind of story-telling.? Compare and contrast the ways in which Friel and Williams present characters who offer their own histories and concept of truth in Making History and A Streetcar Named Desire. Your response should consider interpretations and should include reflections on the dramatic and theatrical aspects of the texts. Both ?Making History? and ?A Streetcar Named Desire? witness the characters showing the audience different perceptions of their pasts by presenting both the truth and their histories differently to the actuality. At the time of ?Making History?s? writing (1987-8), the political situation in Northern Ireland was as deadlocked as in the post 1968 Troubles. The way Friel writes about O?Neill in Making History was affected by what was happening in the 1980s. In the late 1500s O?Neill was attempting to make Ireland independent, and in the 1980s Northern Ireland was still ruled by Britain. Friel shows the truth of O?Neill?s past to possibly rationalise why Ireland was still not completely independent. Unlike ?Making History?, which was still affected by the same problems of the late 1500s many years on, ?A Streetcar Named Desire? was written much closer to the time it was set. Written in 1947, the play dramatizes the conflict between fading Southern belle Blanche and Polish immigrant Stanley, who is determined to capture and consolidate his version of the American Dream. ...read more.

Middle

However, without the light as an audience we know that she can have no clear view of herself and reality. Blanche sings a whimsical song whose refrain, ?but it wouldn?t be make believe, if you believed in me? points to a more subjective truth which is more forgiving of human failings, which reflects Blanche?s delusion. Blanche suggests that she ?took the blows in my face and my body?, reflecting how Blanche?s attitude towards the truth is shaped by her own experiences, which form the reasoning behind her change of truth. Despite both plays presenting histories differently to how they actually are, they both do this in different ways and their structure forms and important part of this. ?A Streetcar Named Desire? sees a decisive event happen before the play begins ? the reason why it seemed that Blanche ?let the place [Belle-Reve] go?. The play develops with Blanche reliving these events which have to be re-presented to the audience. In contrast, in ?Making History? the play takes place before and after the Battle of Kinsale. Discussions deriving from dialogue between characters and stage directions reveal information and inform the audience. ?Making History? is composed of two acts, with Act I offering the successful portrayal of O?Neill as exercised by Lombard, in contrast to Act II which takes place post rebellion failure whereby O?Neill descends to his death in exile. ...read more.

Conclusion

Blanche claims ?I ran for protection?, suggesting she had no choice in her past actions. She states ?I have always depended on the kindness of strangers?, but in reality her downfall in life is because she has not been kind enough to herself. She cries that ?It was because?I?d suddenly said ? ?I know!??. This shows how she feels to blame for the death of her homosexual Husband. This is also ironic because the only people who have been kind to Blanche are those who used her for prostitution; others have had a lack of sympathy. For example, Stanley states ?Sister Blanche is no Lily?, with irony that hints at Blanche?s corruption. A ?lily? is white which has connotations of purity and serenity, and on a metaphorical level ?Sister? refers to nuns ? the irony being that they have to take an oath of celibacy, of which it is clear to the audience that Blanche has not done. To conclude, both plays have an element of distorting facts in order to present the characters? histories differently. However, Blanche lives an illusion out of desperation, whereas Lombard changes the truth in an attempt to reinforce the Gaelic Irish?s sense of identity in the face of English oppression. A difference between the two plays is that Blanche has control over her own history to a certain degree, whereas O?Neill has a total lack of control over his as shown by his character at the end. ...read more.

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