• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How successfully has Williams introduced the main characters and ideas of "A Streetcar named Desire" in the first two scenes

Extracts from this document...


How successfully has Williams introduced the main characters and ideas of "A Streetcar named Desire" in the first two scenes? The plot of "A Streetcar Named Desire" alone does not captivate audiences, but its strengths lie with the characterisation and the relationships that form between these characters. Some of the characters, such as that of Blanche Dubois, the main protagonist, are complex, and our feelings change towards her throughout the play, often completely reversing, while others, such as what we feel towards her sister, Stella, are fairly simple, and the extent of her character and the feelings the writer wishes to evoke in the reader are established early on and remain somewhat static. In a way the main characters are caricatures that are intended to symbolise severe contrast with each other. The title refers to the tramline in New Orleans, where the play is set, that runs from Desire to Cemeteries. The title could be seen to be a metaphor for the whole play. Indeed, Desire, though a real place, is one of the main themes of the play, and is one of the few things Blanche appears to have in abundance. This eventually leads to her downfall. It is fitting that the tramline runs from Desire to Cemeteries, as Blanche says in the play that she views desire as the opposite of death. ...read more.


His rape of Blanche shows his animal side at its most destructive. It shows no human remorse, just a basic need to avenge himself in the most animalistic and brutal way he can think of. It combines the ideas of Stanley having uncontrollable animal violence and lust. The sexual aspect of Stanley's character is also introduced to the reader early on. In the first long description of Stanley we are told "Since earliest manhood the centre of his life has been pleasure with women". When he looks at women Williams describes "crude images flashing into his mind". This too shows how he views women, and in a way life. He sees women in a completely derogatory way, as existing purely for the pleasure of men. He sees life in this way too. Throughout the play he does not appear to have any higher level, operating purely to satisfy his animal needs. The first time he meets Blanche he says "do you mind if I take off my shirt?" and starts to remove it without waiting for a reply. This is a blatant display of his sexuality; he is using it to intimidate Blanche in a very primitive way. It also accentuates the difference between the ideas we have already built about Stanley, and the original descriptions of Blanche and our initial impressions. ...read more.


that she has knows where it is, showing that she is someone who conceals aspects of herself, and maybe has a drinking problem. Williams' father had a drinking problem, meaning he had first hand experience of alcoholism and the damage it could do to people. The contrast is also in the way Stanley and Blanche talk. Stanley often uses incorrect grammar, whereas Blanche has quite a poetic way of speaking and makes literary references, again emphasising the difference in education between the two. Throughout the first scene Blanche seems to be on the verge of breaking down, and is slightly hysterical, especially during her long outburst to Stella about how she lost Belle Reve. We get the impression that she has been severely disturbed by her ideals, and her mental state appears to be quite fragile. She says "I was on the verge of- lunacy, almost!" and says to herself "I've got to keep hold of myself". Both of these show how she is trying to keep herself from mentally crumbling and hint towards the start of a mental breakdown that takes place throughout the play. Williams' own sister had a mental breakdown and was eventually lobotomised. Another aspect of Blanche's character that is linked to this is her apparent vanity. I say apparent, because underneath it she is very insecure about her appearance. She needs constant reassurance that she looks young and beautiful. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level A Street Car Named Desire section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level A Street Car Named Desire essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How does Williams present the character of Blanche in scenes 1-3 of A Streetcar ...

    4 star(s)

    Seeing Blanche by herself is an effective way for the character to be presented: we see her as an individual entity, what she is like without the influence of other characters or the boundaries of her social morals. Blanche has a drinking problem.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    How does Williams use dramatic devices in A Streetcar Named Desire to heighten the ...

    4 star(s)

    It is first heard in scene one after Stanley asks about her husband, then in scene two it is heard when Blanche tells the story of her ill-fated marriage to Mitch.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Compare and contrast Williams treatment of the concept of mental instability in A Streetcar ...

    4 star(s)

    In tense moments such as "She (Amanda) and Laura won't dare face each other", Laura turns to the music left behind by her father and "crouches beside the victrola to wind it". The significance of the music being her father's is that it indicates Laura wants to recapture the past to avoid the stress she finds herself in.

  2. Peer reviewed

    To what extent can Blanche Dubois be described as a tragic victim in A ...

    4 star(s)

    Each time the lantern is taken down Blanche has to confront her fears, affecting her mental stability. Blanche's inability to tolerate light shows that she is terrified of compromising her security and her grasp on reality is nearing the end.Blanche tells Mitch that after Allan's suicide, 'the world was turned

  1. Streetcar named Desire: dramatic tension

    Together they share a conversation on death and loneliness: Mitch: " The girl's dead now. Blanche: (In a tone of sympathy) "Oh!" Mitch: "She knew she was dying when she gave me this. A very strange girl, very sweet - very! Blanche: "She must have been very fond of you.

  2. A Streetcar Named Desire - scenes 2 and 3 reviewed.

    * We again see that Stella is partly loyal to her family when she tells Stanley, 'Are you going to stay her and insult her?'. * [Blanche comes out of the bathroom in a red satin robe]- This shows her hidden provocative side.

  1. 'Cat on A Hot Tin Roof' and 'A Streetcar Named Desire' are plays in ...

    These elements become apparent in Blanche, on acknowledgement that as a teacher she seduced young boys, making evident her foul nature. The moth also relates to the image of transience and incessant fluttering, which correlates to Blanche's nomadic lifestyle and her resistance to settle, apparent in her venturesome activity, before

  2. Explore the ways in which Williams uses the contrast between Blanche and Stanley to ...

    His declaration as a proud American carries great weight as it shows exactly what he says, that he is in fact a member of the New American society. He exposes Blanche as a relic in the New America. The Southern 'aristocracy' from which she assumes her power and authority has

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work