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Tennessee Williams’ psychiatrist told him that all his plays are full of “hate, anger and envy”. How far do you think this opinion applies to Scene Three of the Glass Menagerie?

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Introduction

Nina Tite 22.02.02 Tennessee Williams' psychiatrist told him that all his plays are full of "hate, anger and envy". How far do you think this opinion applies to Scene Three of the Glass Menagerie? In Scene three of the Glass Menagerie hate, anger and envy are all presented not only through the characters, (in what they say and in what they do,) but also by the set and by the argument between Amanda and Tom which is the main feature of the scene. However although Williams' psychiatrist listed emotions which are evident in the play he overlooked others such as love and sadness which play a big part in his writing. Hate and anger are perhaps the strongest emotions featured in this scene as all the characters seem to direct hate or anger at someone or something. As the majority of this scene focuses on the argument between Tom and Amanda it is mainly these two characters that obviously display their hatred and anger towards each other and society. Tom hates Amanda because she restrains him from a normal life as he is constantly providing for the family and not allowed to lead a life of his own. Tom resents his mother because of the wrong choice she made about her husband. Consequently Tom is carrying the responsibility of being the family man because of his mother's mistake by working in a factory job whilst really he would rather be writing poetry. ...read more.

Middle

The bitterness and perhaps hatred felt by her towards the departure of her husband is shown by the fact that she wears "a very old bathrobe, much too large for her slight figure, a relic of the faithless Mr Wingfield". This symbolises that she is trying to take responsibility for the family but the fact that the bathrobe is too big shows she cannot cope with it. This perhaps explains her anger with Tom, who is becoming too like his father for her liking. She senses Tom is envious of the fact that his father managed to escape the family and the suffocating world in which the three of them live when in a heated speech to Amanda he states, "if self is all I thought of, Mother, I'd be where he is - GONE!" This reveals his animosity to his mother and father. Tom is perhaps also envious of the "gentlemen caller", although an illusionary figure he has the freedom to call where he pleases and to ask girls out, something that Tom has not and would dearly love. Although Amanda is angry with Tom, perhaps some of this anger is generated by the fact that she herself is envious of Tom. She realises that Tom is the real authority in the family, for without his money the family would not survive and Tom, instead of her has control. ...read more.

Conclusion

The phone conversation held at the beginning of the scene shows Amanda is capable of taking practical steps in a world of reality. This gives the viewer hope that things in the family are perhaps not as bad as they seem and perhaps Tom gains hope from this as it might mean a way out for him if his mother has a job. However, with this hope also comes sadness. The play and the characters in it revolve around the pain of living but in different ways. For Laura it is her painful shyness that prevents her from entering into the world of reality and instead she finds her solitude and comfort in her glass menagerie. For Tom it is the sadness that comes with being trapped in the home and the world of these three individuals. The real world seems so much more enticing to Tom and perhaps the sad fact is that to get there he has to sacrifice the lives of two others to get his happiness. The fragility of human life is a sad but beautiful thing symbolised all too well in Laura and her Glass Menagerie. Tennessee William's psychiatrist was right in the sense that many of his plays contain "hate, anger and envy", a reflection of his life but he missed the more beautiful poignant emotions that William's was trying to convey. The love for a sibling, the fragility of human life, the pain of living or hope that quickly dies are all mentioned in this one scene alone, reflecting the other side of William's life and mind. ...read more.

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