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"Stella plays a vital role in helping the audience to understand the characters of Blanche and Stanley" Explore Williams' presentation of Stella in the light of this assertion.

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Introduction

Tennessee Williams (1911-83) A Streetcar named Desire (1945) "Stella plays a vital role in helping the audience to understand the characters of Blanche and Stanley" Explore Williams' presentation of Stella in the light of this assertion. In your answer you should examine at least two appropriate extracts from the play. Blanche is presented as a mediator between the antithetical characters of Stanley and Blanche. She represents the assimilation of the old southern American values and class distinction, with the new multicultural and equitable America, represented by Stanley. This is shown by her transition from the privileged life she, led in Belle Reve to the life she lives now in Elysian Fields. She fits in well there and even though she is described the first time we see her in scene one as, "of a background obviously quite different from her husband's", she has made friends with her neighbours and does not treat them with any disrespect because of their different backgrounds. Stella's integration to the new way of life in Elysian Fields helps the audience to understand that Blanche is never able to get rid of her incongruity to the place. ...read more.

Middle

Blanche treats her like a child, a "blessed baby", ordering her to stand up in scene one and rebuking her for her untidiness as well as criticising her home "I thought you would never come back to this horrible place!" Stella makes no objection to this, but it is noticeable that any adverse comment on her husband brings an instant protest. Stella's silent manner is her response to what is of no importance to her. It is obvious throughout the play, but particularly in her passionate declaration in scene four, that she is deeply in love with her husband, and this love is the cornerstone of her existence. She declares that "I said I am not in anything that I have a desire to get out of". Williams uses the stage directions at the end of scene four, after Blanche has been wildly criticising Stanley, to show that if the choice lies between her sister and her husband, there will be no question whom she will choose. "Stella has embraced him with both arms, fiercely, and full in the view of Blanche". ...read more.

Conclusion

Williams portrayal of Stanley as establishing his domination of Stella through sex, prepares the audience for the inevitability, given Stanley's awareness of his masculinity and contempt for women, that he should seek to express his hostility to Blanche through sexual domination at the pinnacle of the play in scene ten. Stella does play a vital role in helping the audience to understand the characters of Blanche and Stanley, as well as prepare them for what is to happen in the play. Stella offers her sister kindness, but only as far as her all-absorbing passion for her husband allows, this is constant throughout the play, Williams uses it to forestall the answer to the question of loyalty that Stella has to answer in scene eleven. Stella is used by Williams to contrast the dominating and high-strung personalities of the other two characters, her moderate behaviour emphasises how absurd the behaviours of the others are. The love triangle between the three characters adds another dimension of tension to the play, because even though Stella is always on Stanley's side the audience still wonder if after scene ten, Stella might realise the truth about Stanley and side with Stella. Sophie Stewart 18/12/2007 ...read more.

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