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

Using the opening stage directions of SCENE THREE as your starting point, explore the variety of Williams's dramatic uses colour and symbolism in the play as a whole.

Extracts from this document...


Using the opening stage directions of SCENE THREE as your starting point, explore the variety of Williams's dramatic uses of colours and symbolism in the play as a whole. "' 'Streetcar Named Desire' shattered virtually every comfortable illusion America had about itself and it seemed as though the audience was ready for it." In 'A streetcar named desire' Tennessee Williams uses stage directions, colour and symbolism to emphasis the point he is writing about. This was written as a play, to be performed in front of a audience, so with using these techniques it enables Williams to direct his meaning in a an almost sub-conscious fashion. The dialogue would primarily affect the audience, but using symbolism allows the audience to relate aspects of one part of the play to another and ultimately gain a better understanding of the message Williams is trying to get across. In this essay I will comment on the techniques that Williams uses and also how he uses them in the context of the play, to achieve greater effectiveness. We must first look at the opening of scene three and address the themes which are brought up in the long stage direction. The main focus is put on the poker game, and it is a game which really brings up symbolism and imagery found in other parts of the play. Firstly there is the poker game itself. On the surface, poker is generally regarded to be a game played by people in a lower social status and often associated with a seedy and immoral atmosphere. ...read more.


This in itself brings death straight into the novel, that everyone comes to an end and ultimately dies. Although Blanche does not actually 'die' her whole demeanor and mental state practically ceases to exist as she is taken off to the mental institute. Williams uses props to symbolize certain things in the play. One of these includes a liquor bottle. It appears throughout the play and has different meanings for different characters. For Blanche it is way to escape the 'real' world. She almost drowns her sorrows, sorrows that have escalated throughout her turbulent life. Blanche seeks refuge in alcohol, and this collapse into alcoholism meets the end in scene 10 when she brakes the bottle to attack Stanley. It shows how far Blanche has descended into a miserable state, that she has to rely on the bottle (alcohol) to protect herself. The fact that Stanley dismisses this attack by grabbing the bottle might suggest that deep down Blanche knows that alcohol isn't going to save her but is merely an attempt to escape the real world. In Stanley's case, the alcohol is something that turns him into a more violent and aggressive person. He is under the influence when he attacks Stella "We've been drinking beer". In the penultimate scene, he opens up a beer and a "...geyser of foam..." shoots up. This represents the male ejaculation and once again emphasizes the primitive sexual nature that Stanley is closely linked to. ...read more.


In the very first stage direction we are introduced to the Blue Piano. This reflected how black-American culture has become integrated into white society. The actual style of music reflects the ambivalent nature of society. This type of music was known to be joyful and yet sorrowful at the same time. The fact that the Blue piano "...expresses the spirit of the life which goes on here" shows how even in the dirtiest, run-down slums there is hope. It also signified, and used by Williams to symbolize, the primitive life force of Stanley. Another piece of music that arises in the play is the Varsouviana (a Polka tune). This again, like the thunder and trains, reminded Blanche of her past. It reminded her of a particular moment in her life; the death of her boyfriend Allan. This death and recollection of events symbolizes Blanches attempts to get away from her past, but it is a past that always catches up with her. Allan's death also symbolizes the pain that Blanche has suffered, the fact that she has been let down so many times which (may) evoke a lot of sympathy for Blanche. Williams once said that, "poetry doesn't have to be words...it can be situations." In 'A Streetcar Named Desire' Williams explores the use of symbols, props, sounds to emphasis the points that he is trying to get across. The play itself is very much a metaphor for the degeneration of society as a whole and that brute force will always overcome 'fantasy' and desire. By Callum Self ...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

    Explore how Tennessee Williams uses symbols and expressionistic stage devices in the play.

    3 star(s)

    Yet it was transitory - souls were soon moved on elsewhere. This foreshadows Blanche's destruction and highlights the illusory nature of her current happiness. It might also harbour another meaning. After victorious soldiers died in battle, they went to Elysian Fields to celebrate their lives, their courage and their accomplishments.

  2. Explore the ways in which Williams uses the contrast between Blanche and Stanley to ...

    Ironically, as Blanche sings this song in the bath, Stanley is revealing to Stella the truth about Blanche and her promiscuous exploits. Williams juxtaposes the two "interpretations" to give a sense of conflict between the two. It would appear that Williams in fact takes the side of Blanche in his

  1. Streetcar named Desire: dramatic tension

    The two women are unaware of Stanley listening to their conversation, but the audience know he is there - this is a case of dramatic irony. Blanche tells Stella everything about her feelings against Stanley.

  2. Analyse how Tennessee Williams uses language and dramatic techniques to explore attitudes to identity ...

    Kowalski' they say. This vocative seems quite formal spoken in such an informal setting as their house, and quite out of place, this could show that the women maybe see Stanley as superior, in the way that he is a man and they feel that they should look up to him.

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

    He overstepped the boundaries on several occasions. He went through Blanche's personal belongings, he spread malicious gossip about Blanche's past ruining any hopes she had for a future with Mitch and in one last final act to ensure he had won he raped her. Stan appears not to feel any guilt whatsoever for his acts that led to the complete mental destruction of Blanche.

  2. Assess the view that Tennessee Williams use of symbolism in A Streetcar Named Desire ...

    Through the way she acts by "Fanning herself with a palm leaf" in that scene indicates that she feels important, which is what everyone initially wants and causes the interpreter to sympathise. When she suggests that she hasn't put "on one ounce in 10 years" as being a huge accomplishment

  1. How do you respond to the view that Williams uses both music and stage ...

    However, the scene soon turns ugly when the 'drunkard'12 takes control over the woman, and 'there is a struggle'13. This foreshadows the struggle between Blanche and Stanley, but as Blanche has been isolated in her own microcosm, and has become frail and weak in the time that she has spent

  2. How does Williams suggest that Blanche and Mitch seem to be out of place ...

    However, this marks out Blanche as vulnerable to Stanley, which makes her out of place in his world since he associates himself with headstrong people and she is an exception to this. Williams reveals that Blanche lost her husband at the end of a scene, ?the boy died?, almost as

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