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The character of Blanche in

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Blanche in "A Streetcar Named Desire" is a character who will throughout the duration of the play invoke all sorts of contrasting, even opposite emotions. To analyse one's emotions is no easy task, and to do so most effectively one must break the play into different parts and analyse them separately. The problem with Blanche is that she presents a character so mixed up in her own motives and opinions that one never knows if it is really her or an act she's putting on. The audience will find itself constantly readjusting its position towards Blanche and the other characters as the play unfolds and we learn more about her story and the reasons behind her inadequacies. Williams makes sure nothing is white or black but grey so that at some moments in the play we struggle to find a reason for her cool manipulation and hunger for power while at others we pity her pathetic life founded on lies and misconceptions. Even when she tries to break up Stanley and Stella's relationship we don't immediately brand her as a villain, we remember that if Stella hadn't left than maybe Blanche would have become what she had wanted to become rather than what society dictated her to become. When we see Blanche for the very first time we know right away that she does not belong in Stella's neighbourhood, she is "daintily dressed" and her "delicate beauty must avoid a strong light", she seems in a fairly hysterical state but we can assume that's just normal since she is "incongruous to this setting". ...read more.


herself and jealousy in that Stella was able to find a man while she apparently wasn't able to find somebody who loved her. We do understand why Blanche did what she did and do feel sympathy for her desperation when she says to Mitch: "Thank you for being so kind, I need kindness now". However, it is also hard to avoid the thought that Blanche is trying to separate them because Stanley is one of the only people she can't control and manipulate. In scene 4 we see how deep Blanche's desperation runs: her need to feel in control brings her to try to turn Stella against Stanley again by saying: "He acts like an animal, has an animal's habits" and so on. When Stanley comes back from work and hears the conversation through the window we do feel some sympathy for Blanche who we fear will become the target of Stanley's fury. However, finding motives for Blanche's actions becomes a common feature throughout play as the audience explores her past and thoughts. Can we blame her for what she has become: a lying manipulative creature who is desperate for love and affection or is it the fault of her parents and background? It is actually hard at this point not to feel sympathy for Blanche yet the audience will also feel annoyance even anger at some of her actions. In scene 5, our notion that what Blanche would have liked to be was a rich and old fashioned woman who, protected by her handsome husband travels around the world is proved true when she writes to a high-school friend: Shep Huntleigh. ...read more.


Stanley takes advantage of her breakdown to (we think) rape her and that marks the end of everything she wanted to symbolize as he treats her as the whore he thinks she is. Finally as a last attempt to be somebody or something she resorts to phoning up the operator and desperately asks for Shep Huntleigh of Dallas. The last scene, scene 11, marks the end for Blanche when she is taken away to a mental hospital still believing she will go on that cruise. One of the last things she says turns out to be the truest self-examination she makes in the play as the Doctor says: "Miss Dubois" she immediately stops resisting and says: "Whoever you are - I have always depended on the kindness of strangers". At last somebody shows her some respect and consideration and calls her by the name she wants to be called "Miss Dubois". Blanche is one of the most complicated characters I have ever come across. There is in her the constant struggle between what she thinks she is, what she used to be and what she wants to be which creates so many contradictions that she ends up lying for most of her life in the hope of appearing as what she wants other people to see her as. There is no doubt that if the audience has spent any time thinking about her and the play they will feel sympathy or at least pity for Blanche. What Williams demonstrates with this play is the power of memories and the ruthlessness of society. ...read more.

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