Tennessee Williams Essay

Published: 2019-10-27 00:00:13
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Category: Literature

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Elia Kazan once said of Tennessee Williams that Everything in his life is in his plays, and everything in his plays is in his life. This statement could not possibly be more correct as every main character in A Street Car Named Desire whether it is their situation, physical description or personality traits can be linked to somebody who had played a role in Williams life. Firstly, the relationship between Stella and Stanley reflects that of Williams own parents. His family life was wracked with violent arguments and a tense atmosphere, which is clearly displayed in the play by Mr and Mrs Kowalski.

Stellas attitude towards her marriage can be compared to that of Williams own mother Edwina. Stella says of Stanleys violent behaviour that people have got to tolerate each others habits, I feel that Williams depicted his own mother when creating Stella as he and his sister Rose often encouraged his mother to leave their abusive father but she was adamant to stay. It could be also said that the relationship between Stella and her sister Blanche is like the one Williams had with his sister Rose.

Blanche is obviously mentally unbalanced and requires constant care and attention from Stella, however she is mortified when Blanche is committed to the asylum asking Eunice, What have I done to my sister? This is an event in the play that would certainly perturb Stella physiologically for the rest of her life. This echoes Williamss life because his sister had a full frontal lobotomy performed on her with the consent of her mother, this deeply disturbed Williams and I think there is a hint of this displayed in Blanches mentality and Stellas attitudes towards it.

He also took care of his sister for the majority of her life as Stella did for Blanche before she left Belle Reve and also in the painful months before she was committed. Stella dotes on her sister and I think Williams felt the same way for his sister Rose. Blanche is the main character in the play but it can be difficult to define how Williams would feel close to her. I think however the issue of sexuality is what his empathy with Blanche is constructed of. Blanche is promiscuous and gives away her love freely but all of this is because of past rejection and heartache.

Blanche was married when she was very young but she caught her husband in bed with another man and at the time when this was written, homosexuality was looked upon as disgusting, abnormal and considered a sin. Williams was a homosexual and perhaps this situation was his way of adding his personal feelings and issues that had affected him into Blanches persona. After consideration however, I actually feel that Williams feels closest to Stanley. Williams actually had a close friend named Stanley Kowalski when he was forced to work at the International Shoe Company for his father.

Even though he is considered the villain of the play, I think Williams saw his father in Stanley. The violence he witnessed in his early years obviously affected him deeply and perhaps he felt that all marriages were in fact based on desire and sex as opposed to love. Perhaps this is why he was homosexual. Also, I think Stanley has some of the same traits as his creator, Stanley is a heavy drinker and gambler and these are problems that ailed Williams during the course of his life.

It would appear that Williams never had the luxury of the truth about his familys issues being concealed from him I think this is why he made Stanley such a realist and allowed him to expose Blanche. It is clear that Williams was never expecting a happy ending both in the play and his life. My personal feelings are actually very different. Although I can understand why Williams would feel close to Stanley I have no empathy for the character myself. The person I feel closest to in the play is actually Mitch.

I would like to think Mitch could be defined as the hero of the play; one of Blanches first observations of Mitch is that he seems different from the others. Mitch was Blanches ticket to happiness and if it werent for Stanley all of this could have been possible. I think the reason why I feel so close to Mitch is because of his touching behaviour in Scene eleven. When he realises what is happening to Blanche he threatens to kill Stanley for what he has done but his emotions and love for Blanche overcome him and he collapses at the table sobbing. Stanley may be the king but Mitch is a human being at least.

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