• 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

    Discuss the way Williams Presents the relationship between Blanche and Stanley explaining what you ...

    4 star(s)

    These two characters obviously have a fatalistic attraction, however, the harm is really one-sided, as Blanche is on the receiving end; just as with a moth when it makes contact with the light. Another imagery Williams uses to describe relationship of Blanche and Stanley is "reality versus illusion".

  2. 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.

  1. Who do you believe is the most to blame for Blanche’s fate at the ...

    The primary force that drives Blanche to her destruction is desire, sexual passion. Early on in the play the sisters speak of that sexual desire; Blanche uses too the image of the streetcar for it: " That rattle-trap street-car" Throughout his life Tennessee Williams was driven from one sexual encounter to another one, just like Blanche.

  2. Symbolism in A Streetcar Named Desire

    Stella: Haven't you ever ridden on that street-car? Blanche: It brought me here - where I'm not wanted and where I'm ashamed to be... In this selection the 'rattle-trap streetcar' named 'Desire', might represent Stanley, while the 'Quarter' may represent Stella.

  1. How does Tennessee Williams use of symbolism add to the dramatic impact at the ...

    This is point is again succeeded when Blanche arrives in New Orleans at the beginning of the scene. She travels in a streetcar named "Desire" and then changes into one-called "Cemeteries". "Desire" is ironic and symbolic because it represents Blanches desire to escape from her past into a new life.

  2. Consider how Tennessee Williams attempts to engage the sympathy of the audience by the ...

    Everybody has insecurity about them and Blanches is about her appearance. It is a shame she feels so insecure and again reinforces the fact the she is fully aware of her fading beauty. Everybody has insecurities and so can relate to Blanche and in doing so feel sympathy for her.

  1. A Streetcar Named Desire - scene by scene analysis.

    Mitch enters and he too has been drinking. Blanche offers him her lips, which he ignores. Blanche brushes aside the fact that Mitch stood her up and offers him a drink. He is cold towards Blanche and says that he doesn't want any of Stan's liquor. He also comments on the fact that Stanley told him Blanche has been lapping it up all summer like a wild cat.

  2. How Much Sympathy Does the Audience Feel for Blanche at the End of the ...

    She herself admitted in scene one that she 'goes wild' when he is away for more than one night. She and Stanley share this passionate relationship fuelled by an immense physical attraction and it is though Stella is blind to anything else.

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