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Examine the ways in which Tennessee Williams creates tension in the first few scenes of 'A Streetcar Named Desire'

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Introduction

Examine the ways in which Tennessee Williams creates tension in the first few scenes of 'A Streetcar Named Desire' Throughout the first five scenes of 'A Streetcar Named Desire' Williams uses various techniques to create tension. The first way is through the use of colour. 'The houses are mostly white frame, weathered grey' Not only is Williams's use of colour descriptive but also it is symbolic. 'She dressed in a white suit with...white gloves and hat' White reflects how Blanche views herself: Pure, innocent and almost angelic. This is symbolic as we later discover Blanche to be practically the opposite of these. Williams also describes Stanley and his pack through colour. 'The poker players...wear coloured shirts, solid blue, a purple, a red-and-white check, a alight green...' All these colours are bright and vibrant, symbolizing anger, violence and the strength the men hold over the women. Another way in which Williams creates tension is through sounds and noises. 'A cat screeches near the window. Blanche springs up' This is the most classic and prominent example of this technique. ...read more.

Middle

At the beginning of the play we establish Blanche likes to drink. 'She pours a half tumbler of whiskey and tosses it down' When discovering this we simply assume that Blanche is just trying to stay calm but we soon realise this is not entirely correct. 'She carefully replaces the bottle and washes out the tumbler at the sink' Blanche feels as though she has to lie about her drinking habits and continues to do so on various occasions through the play. Blanche's habits of concealing things and her blatant deceitfulness are just some of the aspects of her character that cause us to distrust her, effectively creating tension. Another character in 'A Streetcar Named Desire' whom we are cautious of is Stanley. He too has aspects of his character that make suspicious of him. 'He sizes women up at a glance, with sexual classifications' Stanley has no respect for women and this disrespect mixed with his short temper, is a bad cocktail. 'There is a sound of a blow. ...read more.

Conclusion

I want to kiss you!' Blanche's flirtatious nature creates tension as we are given the impression it will eventually cause her more harm than good. Stanley's short temper... 'With a shouted oath, he tosses the instrument out of the window' and Blanche's lust for men... 'You make my mouth water' are bound to clash, thus creating tension. Williams wants us to be on our guard and prepared for something drastic to happen between these two characters. There is an example of Williams doing this when Stanley over hears a private conversation with the sisters. 'There's even something-sub human [about him]...something ape-like' Blanche's insults threaten Stanley's patience. '[He] overhears their...conversation...[he] hesitates licking his lips' We know that this means Blanche has crossed the line and Stanley's tolerance with Blanche is none existent. From this point onwards we are just waiting for the incredible tension between Stanley and Blanche to reach the ultimate level. Williams uses many techniques to create tension in 'A Streetcar Named Desire' the most prominent being the clash between Stanley and Blanche. They are so immensely different from the reader's point of view we can so no means of reconciliation. The only thing visible is conflict and we all know conflict ends in war. Zo� Mortimer ...read more.

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