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Examining the ways in which stage effects reflect the human emotions in Tennessee Williams' "Glass Menagerie"

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Melanie Parkes Examine the ways in which the various elements in this passage- the legends, the storm, the movement of the curtains, the sound effect of the murmur, the colours, and the thunder- create the atmosphere which underscores the emotions of the characters on stage. Throughout the Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams uses different techniques to help portray the individual emotions of the characters. Such devices as legends and sound effects build up to create what he called his plastic theatre, and this is evident in this passage from scene six. Williams purposefully portrays Laura as a weak and mild character and he uses her interaction with objects to depict this: "The kitchenette door is pushed weakly open and Laura comes in." ...read more.


This further shows the type of character Williams wishes Laura to be, not only do we learn she is weak we also now know she is a scared person. To aid the use of screen legends Williams uses the weather to create a certain mood: "There is a clap of thunder" With the scene taking a more scary and fearful atmosphere the weather has become stormy and miserable. This helps the audience understand the fearful nature of Laura, and also how Amanda and Tom are scared for her as they both shout 'Laura!'. Such use of pathetic fallacy underscores the emotions of all three characters making the audience clear about the main aspects of each character, such as Laura's fear and Tom's protectiveness. ...read more.


There is also a clever use of colour with the word 'white' indicating Laura is pure, innocent yet frail. Williams describes the night as dark and blue also to make the scene terrifying, something that is common in more horror based productions. Along with this and the murmur from the storm, the curtains moving in the wind is also stereotypical of a horror film, which is what Williams is trying to show in this scene. Tennessee Williams's use of such techniques as screen legends, sounds, colours, pathetic fallacy and movement of objects help make the audience more aware of not only the atmosphere of a specific scene but also the emotional aspects of the characters on stage, especially Laura on this occasion. This is shown by the use of the screen legends appearing to be Laura's thoughts and moods, colours, objects and the weather reflect Laura's moods, emotional and physical state. ...read more.

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