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

Though A Streetcar Named Desire doesnt end with the protagonists death, it is nonetheless a tragedy. By examining Williams dramatic methods, discuss to what extent you agree with this view.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

?Though A Streetcar Named Desire doesn?t end with the protagonist?s death, it is nonetheless a tragedy?. By examining William?s dramatic methods, discuss to what extent you agree with this view. Arguably, despite the fact that ?A Streetcar Named Desire? doesn?t end with the death of Blanche, it is still a tragedy for many reasons. However, there has been much debate about whether this play should be called a tragedy, as typically, a tragedy is described as a genre that focuses on failure, conflict and disaster, where the three aspects of suffering, chaos and death are emphasised, and it usually ends in the death of the protagonist. However, as Blanche does not die at the end of the play, some have argued that it should not be a tragedy at all. In the play, Williams uses symbolism as a dramatic method to highlight certain tragic elements of the play. One example is the Varsouvianna polka music heard only in Blanche?s head. This music is first apparent at the end of Scene One, when Stanley asks Blanche about her marriage:?[The music of the polka rises up, faint in the distance]?,and represents Blanche?s tragic past with her husband. When her dead husband is first mentioned by Stanley, her response reveals her strong emotions: ?The boy-the boy died[She sinks back down]?.The use of the dash to show the falter in her speech, shows how difficult it is for her to talk about her husband?s death, and implies that Blanche feels fragile and vulnerable at that moment. ...read more.

Middle

By comparing Blanche to a moth, Williams is suggesting that Blanche?s mentality is quite fragile and unstable, highlighting the theme of madness that is evident throughout the play. This description could also be foreshadowing the end of the play, as moths are typically known for being fatally attracted to light, and Blanche?s obsession with disguising reality and hiding her past is what ultimately leads to her downfall at the end of the play (when she is committed to a mental asylum), which could also be seen as her metaphorical death. Through this immediate portrayal of Blanche as a fragile, vulnerable character, Williams seems to be suggesting that Blanche is a tragic victim in the play, which is one of Aristotle?s key conventions of tragedy. The paper lantern also ties in with the recurring motif of light, which is another key element of tragedy in the play. It represents Blanche?s, obsession with escaping from reality, as Blanche tries to avoid bright lights throughout the play. Bright lights seem to expose the truth, for example when Mitch tears off the paper lantern in Scene Nine: ?[He tears the paper lantern off the light-bulb?. This is a key moment in the play, as Mitch is finally seeing the real Blanche with all her imperfections. Even in the beginning of the play, Blanche is shown to be terrified of bright light because of her fear of aging and losing her beauty: ?turn that over-light off! ...read more.

Conclusion

Stella even commits her to a mental asylum, stating: ?I couldn?t believe her story and go on living with Stanley?. The fact that Stella chooses to believe in a world of fantasy over reality also suggests that she has a similar flaw to Blanche. It appears to the audience that she is willing to abandon her own sister because she is so horrified by the truth that, in order to maintain the pretence of a perfect life with Stanley, she feels she must deny the truth and pretend to believe otherwise. This makes the ending seem all the more tragic, as Blanche is shown to be left with nothing, and is all alone when she is taken away. Overall, I agree that ?A Streetcar Named Desire? is still a tragedy, even though it doesn?t end with the protagonist?s death, as there are so many tragic elements in the play that seem to suggest that it is still a tragedy. She is a character that the audience is made to feel pity and sympathy for,and her metaphorical death at the end of the play shows her tragic downfall.The theme of fate that runs throughout the play seems to suggest that the play is indeed a tragedy,as Blanche is unable to stop her descent into madness.However, some may disagree with me, as they believe that the metaphorical death at the end does not mean that it is a tragedy, and that the physical death of Blanche is needed to make the play a true tragedy. ...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

    Tennessee Williams wrote in a letter that It (Streetcar) is a tragedy with the ...

    5 star(s)

    The audience begin to feel a catharsis of terror as the audience see Blanche's language becomes offensive as she loses her ability to speak all together, exasperating Stanley and encouraging his foreplay. Williams wants the audience to feel that Blanche's amassing of tension is due to her sexual promiscuity, and

  2. Marked by a teacher

    TO WHAT EXTENT CAN A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE BE CALLED A TRAGEDY?

    5 star(s)

    There is even discussion as to whether Stanley and Blanche represent either. Williams himself seems to support this: "I don't want to focus guilt or blame on any one character but to have it a tragedy of misunderstanding and insensitivity to others" 7.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    To what extent can Blanche Dubois be considered a tragic hero?

    5 star(s)

    clinging to the past, Blanche is forced because of circumstances to interact with the modern, urban age but is powerless to control the force with which this new, materialistic world is impacting on the once cherished lifestyle of Southern refinement and culture that she was used to.

  2. Marked by a teacher

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

    4 star(s)

    and by doing so ?purge those emotions? at the end, otherwise known as catharsis. The symbol of ?light? is among the most significant aspects of the play. In Scene 1 Blanche says ?Turn that over-light off? I won?t be looked at in this merciless glare?.

  1. Peer reviewed

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

    4 star(s)

    Blanche is a victim of her memories, which is presented through the music in the play. In particular, 'the Varsouviana' surfaces and accompanies Blanche's guilty memories of her husband.

  2. In what ways can 'A Streetcar Named Desire' be seen as a modern tragedy?

    despite all this evidence providing sympathy with Blanche, Williams seems determined to keep the balance of right and wrong utterly ambiguous. For example in Scene Eight, soon after Blanche's extremely poignant line "candles burn out in little boys' and girls' eyes" - a clear reference to her past with Grey - she calls Stanley a "healthy Polack".

  1. Streetcar named Desire: dramatic tension

    Stanley is a reflection of his own father; he enjoys drink and travels a lot. His mother was separated from her aristocratic upbringing when she married his father much like Stella and both his mother and his sister, Rose ended up in mental homes, like Blanche does at the end of the play.

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

    There are evidently characters that are dispirited with their inadequacies, and as a result live their lives in delusion, by means of camoflaging their unpleasant personal realities. However, in the case of Big Mama and Big Daddy, the inadequacies are apparently resolved, where Big Mama takes Big Daddy's arm with a smile at the end of the play, (Broadway Version).

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