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To what extent is Stanley the villain of A Streetcar Named Desire?

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Introduction

Grace Turner Friday 25th November ?To what extent is Stanley the villain of ?A Streetcar Named Desire?? Within literature a villain is traditionally malicious in character and inflicts pain both emotionally and physically; someone who becomes an obstacle the protagonist must struggle to overcome and who takes pleasure in bringing about their demise. ?A Streetcar Named Desire? is the famous story of Blanche du Bois and Stanley Kowalski?s passionate power struggle; written by Tennessee Williams in 1947, the Play is set in New Orleans, Louisiana in the late 1940s. To judge what extent Stanley is a villain it is necessary to first assess which criteria of a typical villain he fits. Throughout the play Stanley proves that he inflicts emotional pain on Blanche, and by not letting her forget her past and by destroying any possibility of love in her life Stanley becomes an obstacle she must attempt to overcome. It is Stanley who brings about the protagonists demise. However, although it appears that Stanley is vindictive and only bringing Blanche down for his own personal gain, one could argue that he is doing it for his relationship with Stella as Stanley would like things to return to the way they were before Blanche arrived. Stanley talks about how he wants their relationship to simply go back to normal: ?Stell, it's gonna be all right after she [Blanche] goes?? Stanley first shows signs of villainy in scene three, through his need to be dominant which foreshadows the conflict between him and Blanche which, later, leads to the rape. ...read more.

Middle

Blanche is portrayed as having pale skin, a white suit and fluttery manner, suggesting a fragile moth, which is contrasted with Stanley?s bold colours and obtrusive nature. At the end of the scene, Stanley mentions Blanche?s dead husband, Allan, unnecessarily; hinting properly for the first time that Stanley has a cruel and villainous side as he clearly intends to inflict emotional pain by making Blanche remember Allan with the comment ?What happened?? Another scene in which the audience feel sorry for Stanley is in scene four, when he overhears Blanche trying to persuade Stella to leave Stanley. Blanche points out the differences between her and Stanley, saying "Stanley Kowalski, survivor of the Stone Age!" "Such things as art - as poetry and music - such kinds of new light have come into the world since then!" We also feel sympathetic towards Stanley at the end of scene three when he begs Stella to come back ? ?I want my baby down here. Stella, Stella!? It is in scene ten that Stanley reveals the true extent of his villainy as well as being the dramatic climax of the play. At the very start of the scene, Blanche is staring in to a mirror, she ?Tremblingly lifts her hand? before slamming it down ?with such violence that the glass cracks?, giving a distorted image ? a metaphor for her distorted view of the world. ...read more.

Conclusion

The sounds of the train, the streetcar named Desire Blanche arrives on, are heard throughout the play and get louder and louder as well as faster. The train will inevitably crash like Blanche. The visual effects represent the present evil and Blanche?s decent in to madness. Williams intended to shock the audience with the full extent of Stanley?s villainy in this climatic scene and his act seems even monstrous due to the fact he is raping his pregnant wife?s sister. It is in this scene that Stanley displays almost all of the traits of a traditional villain; he both emotionally and physically causes Blanche pain as well as clearly finding pleasure in bringing about her demse. In the penultimate scene the line; ?she sunk to her knees? tells us that Blanche has given up and Stanley has finally destroyed Blanche completely. In conclusion; I personally see Stanley as a villain because although at certain points in the play the audience is sympathetic towards him and can see the motive behind his actions, and even relate to them, it is hard to forgive his ruthless and systematic destroying of Blanche both emotionally and physically as well as his lack of control when hitting Stella. Blanche destroys Mitch and any chance of a relationship with him with her lies, however, Stanley destroys Blanche with the truth and does so in such a spiteful, manipulative and ultimately villainous way; it tears her apart. Stanley defines himself by displaying all the traditional characteristics of a villain. WORD COUNT ? 1,460 ...read more.

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