• 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 use dramatic devices in A Streetcar Named Desire to heighten the ...

    4 star(s)

    She seems entirely deluded at this point and almost a pathetic and tragic figure. Williams also uses dramatic irony in scene seven where Blanche sings Paper Moons in the bath suggesting her hope in a future with Mitch rests on him believing in her illusions however, the audience are then allowed revelations about her past from Stanley.

  2. Marked by a teacher

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

    4 star(s)

    A very interesting dramatic technique that Williams employs is to have a period of time in the play where Blanche is alone on stage. This occurs in scene one, after Blanche impolitely dismisses Eunice: 'BLANCHE sits in a chair very stiffly with her shoulders slightly hunched and her legs pressed

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Many definitions of tragedy claim that at the end of the play positives have ...

    3 star(s)

    Now however we see how cruel he can be and how insatiable his lust really is. He even implies that the rape was not a heat of the moment decision saying 'we've had this date with each other from the beginning' (10,25-26).

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

    Blanche makes a sexual move, sexually teasing Stanley. * Blanche; 'You may enter!' Here we see a power shift territory. * Blanche; 'You men with your big clumsy fingers. May I have a drag on your cig?' - The big clumsy fingers are masculine and quite primitive.

  1. A Steercar Named Desire - Blanche's Psychological Breakdown.

    In the third scene, Stella, who is pregnant at the time, is beaten by her husband Stanley. She immediately runs upstairs to her friend's apartment, upstairs. But, soon Stanley runs outside and screams "Stell-lahhhhh" (Williams 133). She proceeds to come down, and they then spend the night together.

  2. What are the contrasts between Stanley and Blanche in "A Streetcar named Desire"?

    Relying often on the ethereal illusions of the mind. This is perhaps what frustrates Stanley; Blanche is nothing substantial, she is almost devoid of reason. This goes against Stanley's perceptions about the world, that everything is black and white and that you are either friend or foe. Much like in nature.

  1. How important are illusions and fantasy as themes in 'A Streetcar Named Desire?'

    This also suggests to the audience that Stella and Stanley's marriage is an illusion, yet they have each other to reinforce their illusions. In the early part of scene four, after Stanley and Stella have made up about the beating, Blanche comes to see if Stella is okay.

  2. A streetcar named desire - Exploration notes context/structure/language/plot&subplot/visual aural spatial.

    Parallel scenes in the play are scenes 6 and 9, and scenes 3 and 11, the polka scenes. The purpose of these similar scenes is to show the audience the progression of the people and their emotions throughout the scenes, because the emotions will start to change.

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