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

To what extent does Williams portray Blanche as a tragic heroine in Scene 1?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Although there are many different viewpoints on a tragic hero, Aristotle made his views clear that a hero must fall from fortune and power, with a tragic flaw allowing the reader to empathise with the character. It is difficult to determine whether Blanche has these qualities from scene one, however there are clear signs that she is far from a conventional heroine. Williams has Blanche first enter the play in a na�ve and shocked manner to display her lack of power and insecurity in society. As Blanche enters New Orleans, it is made clear that 'her appearance is incongruous' as Williams immediately presents her as an outsider to the community. The image Williams creates of her 'carrying a valise' whilst wearing a 'fluffy bodice' is a stark contrast to the urban surroundings and the 'easy intermingling of races'. ...read more.

Middle

However, any pity and relation the audience may feel is quickly depleted when we see Blanche 'shaking all over' as she lies that 'one's my limit'. Although there is a sense of Blanche's hamartia being her alcoholism, Williams removes any pity we have as she constantly contradicts and lies throughout scene one to emphasise how the audience perceive her insecurities. Although it is seen that a tragic flaw moves on with changing society, it seems unlikely that alcoholism is the underlying problem to Blanche's 'lunacy' as we learn that she 'took the blows' of losing Belle Reve. Williams' choice to not show a clear hamartia for Blanche suggests that she isn't a tragic heroine, although it cannot be denied that a flaw may develop later in the play. ...read more.

Conclusion

I let the place go?' Williams does this to ensure the audience do not see her as a well-spoken and noble character, but one who struggles to interact with others. Therefore, Williams uses Blanche's dialogue to emphasise her qualities are very far from those of a tragic heroine. In conclusion, it is clear that Williams is not presenting Blanche as a tragic hero in scene one. He makes sure that any qualities the audience may be fond of, such as her fancy clothes or well-off upbringing, are quickly dismissed as he focuses on her alcoholism, naivety and struggles to form structured sentences. These problems that Blanche has are far from heroic qualities. Although there is a sense of a tragic flaw starting to develop, it is hard to determine in scene one whether these problems will have any affect on her later actions. Sam Franklin Mr Skinner ...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

Here's what a star student thought of this essay

5 star(s)

Response to the question

The essay engages superbly with the question, having a clear argument that Blanche is not a tragic heroine by Williams' presentation in scene one. I liked how a clear definition of a tragic hero was identified in the introduction, as ...

Read full review

Response to the question

The essay engages superbly with the question, having a clear argument that Blanche is not a tragic heroine by Williams' presentation in scene one. I liked how a clear definition of a tragic hero was identified in the introduction, as this allows the essay to remain focused on "a fall from fortune and power". With tragedy, there are numerous definitions, so I would always advise defining it in the introduction to maintain a focused and convincing argument.

Level of analysis

The analysis in this essay is strong, having a sustained focus on the audience response. I liked how there was a clear focus on Blanche's appearance, however I would've secured this analysis further by simply mentioning "stage presence". Whenever you analyse plays, it's key to show an awareness of the dramatic effect on stage. There is perceptive analysis when discussing Blanche's alcoholism, saying this is a possible hamartia. If I were doing this essay, I would've explored how a contemporary audience would respond to an alcohol addiction, posing the question whether this problem is an era of more modern tragedies. The language analysis in the fourth paragraph is strong, and the good embedding of quotes allows for close analysis of Williams' techniques. Technical terms such as monosyllabic are used well, and I like how there is a focus on the use of fragmented speech. Showing a strong awareness of language techniques will allow you to gain high marks for analysis.

Quality of writing

This essay is structured well. Having a clear introduction allows the essay to stay focused on the definition of a tragic hero. Each paragraph adds to the argument, and has a clear signpost which makes it clear to the examiner what is being added. I liked how the conclusion was sharp, as it is often a problem at GCSE level with people sitting on the fence. It is clear that this essay believes that Blanche isn't a tragic hero, and is able to justify this through the analysis used. The style is strong and allows for a convincing argument, but once in a while the language used is colloquial such as "her fancy clothes". Spelling, punctuation and grammar are flawless.


Did you find this review helpful? Join our team of reviewers and help other students learn

Reviewed by groat 26/02/2012

Read less
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. Marked by a teacher

    Scene V, Blanche: "Come in"-"Ahhh Merciii" Discuss this extract in relation to the rest ...

    4 star(s)

    which is the call of a French prostitute. The lack of consideration that Blanche shows towards both men and the way she appears to be using them both (The young man for a thrill and Mitch for security) hints not only towards the fact that in the past she has sought remedies for her loneliness with strangers but

  2. Holes - How did Stanley's character change and develop as the story progresses?

    This is identified when he refuses to teach Zero how to write. I believe the reason for this is that the environment, which he is in, is filled with a great deal of physically tough boys. The individuals around him are also rough and unsympathetic compared to those in his previous school.

  1. Using the opening Stage Directions of Scene Three

    Continuously throughout "A Streetcar Named Desire", Blanche bathes herself. Her sexual experiences have made her a hysterical woman, but these baths, as she says, "calm my nerves". In light of her efforts to forget and shed her illicit past in the new community of New Orleans, these baths represent her efforts to cleanse herself of her odious history.

  2. In the following text, I would like to discuss the presentation of the character ...

    In the following quotation you can see again that Blanche is very bossy and plays the big, domineering sister: "You hear me? I said stand up! You messy child, you, you've spilt something on that pretty white lace collar! About your hair- you ought to have it cut in a feather bob with your dainty features..."

  1. How effectively does the writer/director use the first scene to introduce the main characters ...

    The first visual impression that we get of each of the characters in the film tells us a lot about the personalities of each of the characters and this is the case for most films produced. Here are some the first visual impressions of the three main characters from the

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

    She tries to seem and look as pure as a lily, but in reality she is different. This is foreshadowed to the audience when she spills coke on her white dress in scene five "Heavens right on my pretty white skirt!"

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

    was able to fill her head with after the death of her husband. She tells Mitch about the seventeen-year-old boy and said that the reason for all the men was panic. She throws her head back with convulsive, sobbing laughter and has another drink.

  2. The character of Blanche in

    we see this by the way she assaults Stella and talks non-stop. She seems well educated and mentions "Mr. Edgar Allan Poe". We are vaguely surprised by her apparent taste for alcohol and see that "No, one's my limit" is a lie as she has already had one while Stella

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