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

How does Tennessee Williams dramatise the tension between reality and fantasy in 'A Streetcar Named Desire'?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to people. I misrepresent things to them. I don't tell the truth, I tell what ought to be truth..." Scene IX How does Tennessee Williams dramatise the tension between reality and fantasy in 'A Streetcar Named Desire'? Tennessee Williams dramatises the tension between reality and fantasy by Characterisation, Theatrical Devices, and by the use of Symbolism. Williams uses Blanche to represent fantasy; Blanche is a magical and romantic character. "Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to people. I misrepresent things to them. I don't tell the truth, I tell what ought to be truth..." (p.72) Here Blanche explains that she lies instead of accepting the truth. By lying to herself and others, she makes life appear as it should be, rather than what it is "I tell what ought to be truth." Blanche prefers to live in a world of fantasy, rather than except the truth. Williams has created a very extreme character in Blanche, she always prefers lies to the truth. For example, the loss of Belle Reve, Blanche prefers to believe that it is Stella's fault, for not returning home except for funerals, and not realising that Blanche didn't earn enough money to cover the cost of running Belle Reve, and the funerals. ...read more.

Middle

Blanche is living in her fantasy world, the old world, where men stand when a woman enters the room, but Stanley is in the modern world "Nobody's going to get up, so don't be worried." (p.26) This remark really reminds the audience of the differences between Stanley and Blanche. Williams also uses Music to dramatise the tension between reality and fantasy. As she gets more wrapped up in her fantasy land, Blanche hears the Varsouviana more frequently, the Varsouviana is the polka tune that haunts Blanche in connection with her husband's death. The audience can hear it too, but the other characters cannot. Just before the doctor takes Blanche away, she is hearing the Varsouviana a lot. 'The "Varsouviana" rises audibly as Blanche enters the bedroom.' (p.83) ...'The "Varsouviana" faintly plays.' (p.85) And then 'The "Varsouviana" is filtered into weird distortion,' (p.87) The Varsouviana represents Blanche's fantasy world. It plays when Blanche lapses completely into fantasy, and also seems to explain why she lives in her fantasies. The Varsouviana was the song that was playing when Blanche's husband Allan shot himself. When Blanche sings in the bathroom "say, it's only a paper moon, Sailing over a cardboard sea- But it wouldn't be make-believe if you believed in me!" ...read more.

Conclusion

The specific stage directions that Williams provides means that the director is able to present the play in the way it was meant to be shown, and that the audience will be able to understand what it was that Williams was trying to achieve in his writing. The blue piano is a constantly reoccurring motif that Williams uses to represent that whether we choose to live in fantasy or reality, life still goes on. Whereas only Blanche hears the Varsouviana, and only Stanley realises that much of what Blanche says are lies, all the characters hear the blue piano. 'A Streetcar Named Desire' is a non-naturalistic play, which gives the impression of fantasy. So we could conclude from this that Williams does wish the viewer to be contemplating reality and fantasy as they watch the play. Williams uses symbolism strongly throughout the play; the place names represent the contrast between fantasy and reality; the people are characterised- Stanley representing reality, Blanche representing fantasy; Light is used to represent truth and honesty; and music- the Varsouviana, 'It's only a paper moon' and the blue piano; and Place names help to contrast between reality and fantasy. 1 Hazel Garvey ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE A Streetcar 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 GCSE A Streetcar Named Desire essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    How important are illusion and fantasy as themes in A Streetcar Named Desire?

    3 star(s)

    Stella betrays her sister just for the sake of making her marriage happier and that is why, when Blanche is sent off to the asylum, the situation remains the same between Stella and Stanley. Not only does Stella live in a fantasy world but Blanche herself does too, till Stanley crushes it.

  2. A Streetcar Named Desire

    Not once did you pull any wool over my boys eyes!...I say -Ha-Ha! Do you hear me? Ha- ha-ha' The threat of violence is palpable and Stanley's cruelty is evident. He has an intention to hurt Blanche for his own pleasure, 'Come to think of it-maybe you wouldn't be bad to-interfere with...'

  1. How successfully has Williams introduced the main characters and ideas of A Streetcar named ...

    in, "How quiet you are, you're so peaceful" As the play goes on I don't think my impressions about Stella change dramatically I think I understand more the extent of Stella's desire for Stanley as she continues to go back to him after violence and rage.

  2. How Does Tennessee Williams Dramatize the Differences Between Stanley and Blanche in Scenes I ...

    that she has all looks expensive, but it is actually old or just made to look expensive. The last sentence is; "There is something about her uncertain manner, as well as her white clothes, that suggests a moth."

  1. A Streetcar Named Desire

    She doesn't see a future for herself, as she can no longer marry Mitch and Stanley is forcing her out. In scene XI, she is wearing clean clothes again and dressing nicely, as she thinks that she id going away with Shep Huntleigh, although it is all in her mind and she is actually going to a Mental Institute.

  2. The Analysis of Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

    These never-ending baths annoy Stanley even more and push him farther to his plan to destroy her and get rid of her. While Blanche is disgusted by Stanley's person and his animalistic behaviour, she flirts openly with him. This attempt to seduce him is the only way she knows to achieve success with men.

  1. The Depiction of Patriarchy in "A Streetcar Named Desire" by Tennessee Williams

    This can be seen as a way Blanche has challenged the oppression of the patriarchy, and chosen to live in her own way. However, Blanche still acknowledges her belief that she needs men and to be able to function within the patriarchy in order to survive.

  2. Discuss and analyse the way Tennessee Williams presents Blanche and Stanley in A street ...

    Stanley doesn't want to let anyone destroy his marriage. When he finds that Blanche is talking bad about him to Stella, he tries his best to "defeat" Blanche by staying with Stella. Blanche would say things such as "He acts like an animal, has an animal's habits! Stanley Kowalski, survivor of the Stone Age!

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