• 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)

    That is why when Stanley revealed the truth about her, he felt deceived, like she had been lying to him. Stanley brings Blanche back to reality and crushes her illusions. Blanche needs Mitch as a stabilizing force in her life, and if her relationship with him fails, she faces a

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

    By contrast, the only person who shows some compassion and understanding to her is Mitch. She is immediately aware of his difference and recognizes a similar sensitivity to hers in him. But this is not a sensitivity of an educated, intelligent and high- spirited man but of one who had endured life's trials and takes care of a dying mother.

  1. Lighting, Music and other effects in 'A Streetcar named Desire'.

    As he is doing this he puts on his green bowling shirt. This shirt also symbolizes a domination he has over Blanche and it shows he has power over the situation. The most destructive action by Stanley to Blanche is when he rapes her.

  2. Symbolism in A Streetcar Named Desire

    Another major symbol used by Williams, is the streetcar - the title of the play, itself. While Blanche confronts Stella about the previous night (the poker night), she explains to her enthusiastically that the relationship Stella has with Stanley, is merely infatuation.

  1. 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...'

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

    The bottle-top falls. She sinks to her knees, he picks her up and carries her to the bed." There are many ways of seeing the reasons why Stanley does this to Blanche. The first is the fact that Blanche had offered sex earlier for a roof over her head and Stanley, being the man of the house expected the same.

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

    This is again is symbolic because it means "beautiful dream" in French, but this dream is lost just like Blanches dream is lost. This again foreshadows to the audience that things are not going to go well for Blanche who is trying to find reality in her imagination.

  2. 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.

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