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

What drives Stanley to seek Blanche's destruction in Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire"?

Extracts from this document...


M.Ianiri What Drives Stanley to seek Blanches Destruction He is loud mouthed, opinionated, sexist, aggressive and animalistic- all overriding characteristics of Stanley Kowalski the man who in no small part is responsible for the dramatic collapse of Blanche. On first impression there is very little reason for the audience to feel sympathetic towards Stanley, but in my opinion it is unfair to hate Stanley for actions and characteristics that he has little or no control over. Stanley's actions are largely motivated by his wish to protect his wife and unborn baby, surely a natural reaction for which he should not be judged so harshly. Stanley sees Blanche as a threat, an invasion of territory, something that needs to be dealt with. Stanley is continuously described as bestial by Blanche a fact that he never protests, why then are we shocked, even horrified by the rape of Blanche when Stanley is only in-keeping with a pattern of behaviour over which it is obvious he has little or no control. In my opinion Blanche is as much if not more to blame for her eventual downfall at the hands of Stanley. From very early on Stanley establishes himself as a symbol of the old World, whereas Blanche remains a symbol of the old world of white houses, frilly dresses and slaves. ...read more.


One of the biggest factors in their relationship, the thing that attracts Stella most to Stanley, is the very thing that Blanche and the majority of the Audience hate so much, his animalistic nature. Stella makes her feelings for her husband very clear showing her desire saying "when he's away for a week I nearly go wild" Lines like this illustrate the principal emotion that will shape Stella's later decision as to where her loyalties lie. Stella, the link between the two, must listen to the facts given to her by Stanley, and the virtues of idealism given to her by Blanche and decide who she wants to side with, predictably she sides with Stanley, "I couldn't believe her story and go on living with Stanley". It seems difficult to separate love and lust in Stanley's relationship with Stella; however the animal passion that obviously attracted Stella disgusts her later in the play. The fact Stella and Stanley are mutually dependent on each other is very evident throughout the play. What is also evident is that the two have achieved a balance that is disrupted by the arrival of Blanche. In the third scene Stella is beaten by Stanley an event that obviously traumatises Blanche but Stella, who ends up spending the night with her husband, sees no problem with it, Blanche asks her "How could you come back in this place last night?" ...read more.


Afterwards, she tells Stanley that she would never forgive him because "deliberate cruelty is unforgivable" To have someone who seemed so close to her turned against her must have hurt just as much if not more then many of Stanley's taunts and attacks. Stanley is primitive in his instincts which make him more defensible. The extent to which he is acting out of self-defence determines how we should feel about him. However there are very clearly cruel intentions behind many of his actions. Stella says that her husbands animal emotions are that he has and indeed the natural reaction to the invasion of territory both physically and the intrusion into his way of life is understandable. Stanley says that "be comfortable is my motto" and Blanche clearly makes him feel uncomfortable. Stanley's eventual victory is not only his personal victory but a victory of the new world over the old. Just as an animal should not be judged by human standards, if Stanley really is nothing more then an animal he should escape blame and indeed he should receive some degree of sympathy from the audience. However Stanley often appears too human to be reduced to the level of an animal. He deals with Blanche not only with natural instincts but with cruel actions motivated by his own selfishness. Something no animal is capable of and so demands our judgement. ...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

    How much is Desire a force for destruction in the play 'A Streetcar Named ...

    3 star(s)

    This is similar to how the 'Glass Menagerie' is meant to be performed, and how Stanislavski said Chekhov wrote2: 'destroy[ing] both the inner and outer falsity...' Here he states that all illusions will be destroyed eventually; even if not by desire directly, then by some other powerful emotion.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    In What ways is Sexuality portrayed as central to the conflicts of the individual-v-society ...

    3 star(s)

    Harding's denial of his sexual preferences reflects the indoctrination described extensively in Cuckoo's Nest "there ain't no point bucking the system" caused by society's control. "Society decides who's sane and who isn't so you got to measure up" making Harding believe he is ill "Boxed out of his mind"7, when he is just 'unconventional' in society's view.

  1. A Streetcar Named Desire - scenes 2 and 3 reviewed.

    For example when he bellows back to Stanley. Mitch can adapt old world courtesy so immediately. As an audience we link this back to Blanche immediately. * Blanche tells Stella, 'That one seems- superior to the others.'- Here she is talking about Mitch. Because she asks questions about him we can see that he intrigues her.

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

    From the moment Blanche first came to stay at Stella and Stan's home she posed a threat to Stan. He was used to being the only one Stella cared for, the one who ruled her. He wasn't happy that somebody he had never met could move into his own territory

  1. Blanche and Mitch's relationship in "A Streetcar Named Desire" by Tennessee Williams.

    looks for ways to escape the brutality and suffering of death and reality. I think that if you are aware of her past, you can understand why she acts the way she does. She has come to Stella not only because she had nowhere else to go, but for her help and love.

  2. A streetcar named desire - Exploration notes context/structure/language/plot&subplot/visual aural spatial.

    In scene ten, at the peak of her mental decay, she wears a white satin evening gown which is described in the directions as 'soiled', with 'cheap' jewellery. The implication that Blanche herself is soiled and cheap is evident. The deterioration of her costume throughout the play is clear and

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

    However, in the play it is Maggie who is the Cat and on the contrary, her tenacious, enduring character generates a positive outcome. As a result, she is rewarded with unity between herself and Brick. In the final Act, Brick and Maggie communicate in a matrimonial fashion.

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

    The fact Williams stages the scene so that the ?strike? was off stage shows that this violence would have been just as shocking at the time the play was written as it would be to a modern-day audience. This scene establishes Stanley as a villain and an obstacle to Blanche?s progress early on.

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