Characteristics of the main personalities of the play A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams.

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Characteristics of main personalities of the play “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams.

Tennessee Williams is one of the most provocative and widely respected playwrights in the modern theatre. His strengths in playwriting were in his bright and vivid characterizations and brilliant dialogues. “A Streetcar Named Desire” (original name was “The Poker Night”) is one of the most remarkable plays of our time. It has gathered the wide audience in contemporary dramatic literature. In the first year of its presentation in New York, the play received the Pulitzer Prize, The Donaldson Award and The New York Drama Critics Awards. The play has been produced in many countries throughout the world and has been made in to the popular movie with amazing Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando.

Many of the major themes of “A Streetcar Named Desire” are embodied in the history and culture of New Orleans. The lively setting of the French Quarter, with its streetcars, bars, entertainment, and jazz and blues music, provides a rich background for the emotional events of the play; the setting also draws symbolic attention to changes which were taking place in American society, especially in the South during the post-World war II years. The characters of the play are also very realistic and specific, I think that everyone of them deserves special note.

Blanche DuBois is a complex individual who provokes strong reactions from the other characters. We know that she has been a schoolteacher in Mississippi but was asked to leave her job because of an obscure story with a student, that she was once a Southern belle from a wealthy family, and that she has a failed marriage and doubtful past which she has left behind. At once strong in her desires and determined in her claims on the men who are around her, and yet weak and forever looking for someone to take care of her, she gives off a series of conflicting signals. She is neurotic, psychologically deceived about her beauty and attractiveness, and perhaps also an alcoholic. In the opening scene where elegant and beautifully dressed woman who appears leads us to expect quite a different character to emerge than the fragile woman running from her past who begins to display her neuroses and obsessions during the following acts.

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The division between emotional surface and depth is brought out throughout the play in the way that Blanche can’t face up to her past, but only reveals glimpses of it through her neurotic behavior and occasional comments.

Blanche is also really self-centered. As a guest in a small apartment, her behavior seems very irritating. Not only must Blanche’s presence disrupt Stanley and Stella’s sexual intimacy, but it also spoils the routine of their everyday life. The fact that she freely (and dishonestly) drinks Stanley’s whisky and that she sends the pregnant Stella off to get a drink ...

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