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'Right from the start of the play, Williams draws the audience in by his presentation of tension and potential conflict between the sisters.' Do you agree?

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Introduction

'Right from the start of the play, Williams draws the audience in by his presentation of tension and potential conflict between the sisters.' Do you agree? Use as a starting point the opening of the play up to the stage directions 'They stare at each other across the yellow-checked linoleum of the table.' In the opening scene Williams presents the potential for conflict and tension between characters; most evidently between Stella and Blanche. However he also presents tension within Blanche and the potential of conflict within herself. Williams presents Blanche as a very unstable, overwrought and on edge character. She sits in the chair and she's stiff, she 'presses her legs close together', she's uncomfortable and vulnerable to what is around her. William shows us the moth without its protective disguise 'I've got to keep hold of myself!'. The audience sees a fragile paper doll, an alcoholic. Just before Blanche is about to tell Stella about the loss of Belle Reve, she 'begins to shake again with intensity', she is a wreck, and she is losing control of herself, and at the mention of Allan's death she is sick. ...read more.

Middle

could do it justice!' Not only is she rude about Stella's house she also insults her husband, Stanley. 'Something like Irish... Only not so - Highbrow?', 'civilian background'. She is calling him common - the man that Stella loves. Blanche, even after being complemented on her own looks, tells Stella that she's 'plump as a little partridge', she calls her husband a Polack and accuses her of sleeping with this Polack while she took the blows to try and save Belle Reve. There is huge tension between the sisters at this point in the play and massive potential for conflict between them. In the opening scene there are subtle hints of possible conflict between Stella and Stanley. We see at the beginning of the play, the spirit of New Orleans. The 'gaudy seed-bearer' brings home the 'red-stained package'. The passion and the wild spirit is clearly there between Stella and Stanley. There are hints in the scene that Blanche could disrupt this mood, this spirit. ...read more.

Conclusion

Both characters are so dissimilar. Stanley has 'the power and pride of a richly feathered male bird among hens', he is a beast. While Blanche is a 'fragile paper doll', she is elegant and intellectual. They are so different, they cannot live together and this gives huge potential for conflict between tem - a territorial battle. From the start of the play Tennessee Williams draws the audience in through his presentation of tension and potential conflict between the sisters and the other characters. Blanche is the catalyst for this potential, she creates the tension between Stella and Stanley and creates tension between her and he surroundings because she is so out of place - she is 'incongruous to the setting' and that beautiful dream of Belle Reve is far from realizing itself. It is the created tension and potential conflict between the characters that Williams uses to draws us all in. The tension created through the use of relationships between characters, and the building of new relationships (Stanley and Blanche) as well as the detailed stage directions all combine to help draw in the audience from the very opening scene of the play. ...read more.

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