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A Critic suggests that the source of the plays dramatic power lies in the presentation of “delicate illusions always on the verge of being shattered.” How far do you agree with this view of the play?

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Introduction

A Critic suggests that the source of the plays dramatic power lies in the presentation of "delicate illusions always on the verge of being shattered." How far do you agree with this view of the play? In the world of 'The Glass Menagerie' life is an illusion. Tom, Laura and Amanda are all fighting to separate themselves from reality and live in their own world. Jim O'Connor, the man who Amanda has set all of her hopes in as a husband for Laura, appears late on in the play as a brief glimpse of this reality they all seem to be hiding from, "From a world of reality that we were somehow set apart from." Laura, living in her own withdrawn world with her glass figures, is the most fragile and delicate of the characters, and in herself provides a realm of delicate illusions almost ready to be shattered. When Laura's unicorn figure breaks, her favourite one, the most unique one, we are being shown a symbolic shattering of Laura's dream world. The man who, for a brief moment appeared to be her escape from her world of illusions, shatters this world. Amanda was brought up in the deep southern states of America and can't seem to face life in a small inner city apartment. ...read more.

Middle

The coffin trick accurately symbolises his feelings of life and his longing to leave, "We nailed him into a coffin and he got out of the coffin without moving one nail." He feels to suffocated by his job and his family and is desperate to leave but does not want to hurt anybody, does not want to 'remove a nail'. This trick and Tom's fascination with it reveals the depths if his unhappiness. He spends his time writing poems in order to maintain this delicate illusion of adventure that he holds. When Tom does not pay the light bill in order to follow his dream, they are all suddenly plunged into darkness. This is symbolic of what will happen when Tom leaves. Amanda and Laura will be plunged even further into personal darkness. They temporarily light candles to bring light to this darkness but candles are very easily extinguished, they do not last for long. Tom may have got out of the coffin but he has not done it without removing a nail, he has left hurt in what he's left behind, "Like bits of shattered rainbow." The shattered rainbow is a symbol of the shattered hope of all the characters at the end of the play. ...read more.

Conclusion

she blows the candles out." Laura blows out the candles and blows out any sign of light in her small, secluded world. There is certainly a great deal of dramatic power throughout the play in terms of delicate illusions always on the verge of being shattered. Each character has created their own world of illusions in order to hide from reality, and each character is so weak that these illusions are easily damaged. In many cases they are completely shattered. It was never likely that any good would come out of the situation with Jim, yet so many hopes were placed in him that the disastrous outcome is not surprising. However we can also see that the plays dramatic power lies not only in these illusions on the verge of being shattered, but also in the shattering of these illusions and the effect they have on the lives of all those involved. It could perhaps be said that Laura suffers the greatest from these shattered illusions. Amanda is a lot older and has already lived a lot of her life, and Tom managed to leave to follow his dream, whereas Laura, incapable of living in reality is trapped in her own world of darkness, with her whole life ahead of her. We are lift doubtfully wondering if there can ever be any hope for such a situation. ...read more.

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