How much is Desire a force for destruction in the play 'A Streetcar Named Desire'?

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How much is Desire a force for destruction in the play ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’?

The play ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ obviously has the theme of desire playing a key role in it, since the play is so named. However, due to it being only a title, it cannot distinguish the role of this emotion, the many different subtleties of this emotion, and even the diverse range of ways it can be taken as meaning. It is not merely an emotion, but a force of nature, even a rite of passage. Within the play itself, as this emotion runs through the various scenes, no one threatens it, or even particularly acknowledges its very existence; yet, if it is not mentioned, then it should be unable to affect the characters and the plot as a whole.

The actual depiction and reality of desire has not changed over time, but reactions are very different to it in the play to both what they are now, and what they were thousands of years ago. In this period, men were seen as being superior to women, but women had their place in the social order nevertheless. Stanley talks about the Napoleonic code; this is still used today, but only in principle. This is because for the most part, women and men are their own separate entities and have their own lives. In this point of time, and primarily in this location (since one cannot definitively say this was the overall mood towards desire when one only reads about what is accepted in New Orleans), desire from men was widely accepted, but the same from women was scorned. However, in Londré’s1 opinion, nowadays audiences would sympathise with Stanley in many cases, for being the protagonist. Common opinion would suggest that he would be the more loathed character now, unlike then when such behaviour, albeit acceptable, was not liked by women. If one was so bold as to reveal one’s views in public, one could very well be shunned for such an appalling reputation, such infamy. However, solely lustful desire from women towards strangers, the sort that could lead to prostitution, was disdained.

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In the play, there are very clear types of desire. There is the lustful sort of desire that is felt by Stanley towards most women that he passed:

‘He sizes women up at a glance, with sexual classification, crude images flashing into his mind and determining the way he smiles at them.’

This man is what would now be known as chauvinist, but at the time, this was accepted amongst society. Men were allowed to have these feelings; indeed it was virtually their right, but women could not have such a thing. When Blanche meets the ‘young man’, you can ...

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The writer has clearly researched the subject, but could use context more specifically and less vaguely. Similarly, while this is an articulate, expressive essay, waffle should be avoided and the argument should be kept sharply relevant. ***