A Streetcar Named Desire Review Theatre

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It is Blanche DuBois who states this citation in Tennessee Williams ‘ A Streetcar Named Desire. In this play from 1947, two universes, embodied by the two characters of Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski, clang. That struggle between pragmatism and a romantic position of things is seeable through the whole drama, increasing from scene to scene, and reaches its extremum in Stanley ‘s colza of Blanche in Scene Ten. After that suppression of the romanticism and with Blanche traveling to an refuge, one might believe that the realistic point of position victory, but in my sentiment her departure and her playing, still trusting on the “ kindness of aliens ” ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 159 ) , leads to the feeling of a endurance of her fantasy universe. She merely “ flights from the diabolic dark universe and completes the rhythm of love affair ” ( Thompson 28 ) . But I do n’t believe that her semblances win over Stanley ‘s pragmatism, as she is “ a Romantic supporter committed to the ideal but life in the modern age, a broken universe ” ( Holditch 147 ) .

In Williams ‘ drama A Streetcar Named Desire, things are non ever called by their names, but he creates a sense of indirectness. With the assistance of stating names and particular attitudes of the characters, he caricatures a truth behind things. However, this is non restricted to the supporters and their citations, but besides concerns the drama itself, including the phase waies. The feeling of concealed truths is supported by effects and motives, for illustration the acceptance of visible radiation and music or the gestures of the histrions. This realisation of a drama on a phase is called the “ Plastic Theatre ” , as the audience gets more involved through the usage of different senses. This leads to a graphic feeling of the feelings and ideas of the supporters. Williams himself created the term of the “ Plastic Theatre ” in his production notes to The Glass Menagerie. There he writes about a “ construct of a new, plastic theater which must take the topographic point of the dog-tired theater of realistic conventions if the theater is to restart verve as a portion of our civilization ” ( Williams, Glass Menagerie 4 ) .


2. Definitions

To supply a solid footing for the undermentioned ideas refering the different characters of A Streetcar Named Desire and their points of position, I want to present and explicate the two footings of “ pragmatism ” and “ romanticism ” briefly. Both of them can besides been seen as era in American Literature, but I merely want to concentrate on the general statement. In add-on, I want to expose farther information about the thought of the “ Plastic Theatre ” .

2.1. Realism

In the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, pragmatism is described as “ accepting and covering with life and its jobs in a practical manner, without being influenced by feelings or false thoughts ” . This means that one takes things as they are, measuring state of affairss merely with the assistance of the seeable facts, non trusting on false hopes or following non-realistic ideals. The human ground has, from a realistic point of view, a higher value and is more of import than emotions or self-generated feelings.

2.2. Romanticism

The romantic position is in contrast to the realistic 1. Romanticism is related to “ extremely inventive or impractical ” ( Longman Dictionary, “ Romantic. ” ) attitudes, look up toing ideals which are non realistic or even unattainable. In romanticism, feelings and emotions are stated higher than rational thought and human ground, non merely in the context of love issues, but besides in the manner of covering with state of affairss and jobs. Impressions are non based on seeable facts, but on ideal constructs, and these constructs might be sometimes quite fictional or Utopian.


2.3. The Plastic Theatre

“ To show his cosmopolitan truths Williams created what he termed fictile theatre, a typical new manner of play. He insisted that puting, belongingss, music, sound, and ocular effects – all the elements of presenting – must unite to reflect and heighten the action, subject, characters, and linguistic communication ” ( Griffin 22 ) .

Like Griffin, many writers, including Tennessee Williams himself, tried to explicate the Plastic Theatre, but it was hardly discussed in public. After he established the thought of the Plastic Theatre in the production notes to The Glass Menagerie, Williams ne’er publically discussed it once more. But from that minute on, his dramas were really theatrical, with lyrical and poetic linguistic communication, his scenic descriptions “ pull on metaphors from the universe of art and picture ” and with rather symbolic usage of sound and visible radiation ( Kramer ) .

3. A Streetcar Named Desire: The Truth Behind Things

In Williams play A Streetcar Named Desire, the audience gets the feeling that facts are non merely stated within the text, but between the lines. The characters are frequently described better through their behaviour and gestures than through their existent citations. From scene to scene it gets clearer that Blanche and Stanley are incarnations of two really contrasting point of views of life: utmost romanticism and earthy pragmatism. This is besides seeable through different symbolic motives, which emerge assorted times in the drama. Connected with a really redolent usage of music and visible radiation and many stating names from the beginning on, the whole drama seems conspicuously allusive.


3.1. Romanticism and Realism in A Streetcar Named Desire

We are presented in A Streetcar Named Desire with “ two polar ways of looking at experience: the realistic position of Stanley Kowalski and the ‘non-realistic ‘ position of his sister-in-law, Blanche DuBois ” ( Kernan 17 ) . Williams brings the two positions into struggle instantly.

3.1.1. Blanche DuBois as the Romantic Supporter

When the audience meets Blanche, her visual aspect is described as “ incongruous to this scene ” ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 8 ) . In Scene One she arrives at the Elysian Fields, where her sister Stella and her brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski live. Her apparels are white and fluffy, looking really delicate and “ as if she were geting at a summer tea or cocktail party in the garden territory ” ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 9 ) . She is really aghast about the habitation of her sister and calls it a “ atrocious topographic point ” ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 13 ) . The reader is confronted immediately with her crazed self-awareness, as she asks Stella to turn the “ merciless ” ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 13 ) light off, because she does non desire to be looked at in the bright visible radiation. This behaviour is seeable through the whole drama. Blanche ever tries to avoid over-light and blaze. Her amour propre about her expressions is besides singular in the manner Blanche presents her figure to her sister, angling for regards and saying that she has the same figure as she had ten old ages ago. ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 18 ) . She frequently states really romantic citations through the whole drama, e.g. refering the pretty sky where she “ ought to travel [ aˆ¦ ] on a projectile that ne’er comes down ” ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 44 ) .

When the relationship between Blanche and Mitch, a friend of Stanley, becomes more confidant, the audience gets an feeling of Blanche ‘s romantic construct. She calls him her “ Rosenkavalier ” and wants him to bow, merely like the gentlemen in the Old South would make ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 90 ) . Although she was married one time, she tries to act like she would be untouched and a virgin, which she is evidently non. When Mitch says that he can non understand Gallic, she asks “ Voulez-vous couchez avec moi Ce soir? ” ( Would you like to hold sex with me tonight? ) ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 95 ) . The information about her yesteryear, that she had many work forces in a hotel called the “ Flamingo ” , and the manner she speaks about her relationship with Mitch, that she does non love him, but merely desire a adult male with whom she can rest, brings certainty for the audience.


So Blanche ‘s character can be described as a really romantic 1. For her, outwardness is really of import, and to look really delicate and pure she is non afraid of stating prevarications. She is a sham, a individual who likes to be better than she really is, populating in a phantasy universe which has nil to make with the existent life. “ Already damaged by [ aˆ¦ ] the rough worlds of disease and decease, Blanche ‘s Romanticism is reduced in some minutes to nil more than mawkishness ” ( Holditch 155 ) .

3.1.2. Stanley Kowalski as the Realistic Protagonist

Stanley Kowalski seems as the incarnation of a “ existent adult male ” , opposed to or ignorant of the transcendent, really sexual and physical. When the audience gets in contact with him for the first clip, he carries a bundle of meat and throws it to his married woman Stella. He is described as “ strongly, compactly built. Animal joy in his being is implicit in all his motions and attitudes ” ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 24 ) . His relationship to his married woman is a really sexual one, as Stanley treats his married woman in a really physical manner and Stella provinces that she is really attracted to him. When Blanche leaves to the refuge and Stella calls, he consoles her by touching in a sexual manner ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 160 ) , which is characteristic of their relationship.

His position of things is a really realistic 1. When Blanche informs Stanley and Stella that she had lost the plantation of their parents, Belle Reve, Stanley thinks that in fact she did non lose it, but possibly sold it and did non give them their portion of the money. For him, this would be an insult against himself, as the belongings of his married woman Stella is his ain, excessively. He thinks Blanche bought jewellery, apparels like a “ solid-gold frock ” and “ Fox-pieces ” ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 32 ) from the returns of the plantation. In world, the pelts are “ cheap summer pelts ” ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 33 ) and the jewellery is glass. This error is “ the error of the realist who trusts to actual visual aspect, to his senses entirely ” ( Kernan 18 ) .


Stanley ‘s position of things, the realistic 1, is the one which works in the modern, broken universe. He embodies this rough universe with all its physical, stuff and sexual facets. His strong visual aspect and his human ground is all he needs to acquire along in the existent universe.

3.1.3. Conflict between Romanticism and Realism

The two points of position clang from the beginning of the drama on until the terminal. Blanche embodies the romantic 1, whereas Stanley bases for the pragmatism.

“ In the class of the drama Williams manages to place this pragmatism with the rough visible radiation of the bare electric bulb which Blanche covers with a Nipponese lantern. It reveals mercilessly every line in Blanche ‘s face, every tawdry facet of the set. And in merely this manner Stanley ‘s pitiless and examining pragmatism manages to uncover every line in Blanche ‘s psyche by cutting through all the soft semblances with which she has covered herself ” ( Kernan 18 ) .

Kernan explains really descriptive the relationship between the two supporters. Stanley does non handle Blanche with much regard, which is seeable through the manner he talks about her bathing and her manner of dressing. But besides Blanche has an antipathy to him, naming him “ sub-human – something non rather to the phase of humanity yet ” ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 74 ) . For her, Stanley is a menace, because he is able to destruct her fantasy universe and to bring out her yesteryear and her existent face. The struggle additions from scene to scene and reaches its extremum in the colza of Blanche. Stanley has to turn out his laterality and hence rapes her to coerce his world on her. But she is non broken after the colza, she is merely even deeper in her fantasy universe, which is shown by the manner she trusts the physician, keeping tight to his arm, still depending on “ the kindness of aliens ” ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 159 ) .


Finally the audience gets the feeling that the “ realistic point of position has the advantage of being feasible. Blanche ‘s romantic manner of looking at things, sensitive as it may be, has a fatal failing: it exists merely by disregarding certain places of world ” ( Kernan 18 ) .

3.2. The Plastic Theatre in A Streetcar Named Desire

Williams tried to pass on fortunes non merely by the playing of the supporters, but besides through symbols and assorted effects. “ The scene, illuming, props, costumes, sound effects, and music, along with the drama ‘s dominant symbols, the bath and the light bulb, provide direct entree to the private lives of the characters ” ( Corrigan 50 ) . The many stating names in the drama give extra information and implement the feeling of a truth behind things. In the undermentioned subchapters I want to discourse model Blanche ‘s bathing, the acceptance of music and sounds and the usage of stating names.

3.2.1. Blanche ‘s Bathing

Blanche bathes really frequently in this drama. She evidently wants to clean herself from her yesteryear. After the bathing, she feels “ all newly [ aˆ¦ ] and [ aˆ¦ ] like a trade name new human being ” ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 35 ) . Every clip she is confronted with the existent, barbarous universe, she wants to get away in her dream universe, which is strongly connected with bathing. In Scene Three when the work forces have a Poker Night and Stanley “ gives a loud whack of his manus ” on Stella ‘s thigh, she immediately says “ I think I will bathe ” ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 49 ) . In Scene Seven, she bathes once more, “ small breathless calls and rolls of laughter are heard as if a kid were larking in the bath ” ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 110 ) , while Stanley Tells Stella about Blanche ‘s yesteryear and her personal businesss with a seventeen-year-old male child and many other work forces. The rubric of the vocal Blanche sings while bathing is It ‘ Merely a Paper Moon and it is described as a “ cloying popular lay which is used contrapunctually with Stanley ‘s address ” ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 106 ) . Particularly the poetry “ – But it would n’t be pretend If you believed in me! ” ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 107 ) is really dry, because Blanche does non look really trusty at all, and so the vocal even accentuates her disreputable yesteryear. After the colza, she bathes once more in Scene Eleven and is really disquieted about her hair, as if the soap would non be wholly washed out.


The many baths in the drama show that Blanche will ne’er be done with bathing, because she is ever confronted with the existent universe and could non clean herself from her yesteryear. It gives her “ a trade name new mentality on life ” ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 115 ) , but can non alter her life truly.

3.2.2. Music and Sounds

The usage of music and sounds is besides really theatrical in the drama. The Blue Piano “ expresses the spirit of the life which goes on ” ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 6 ) and is ever heard when the struggle between existent universe and Blanche ‘s fantasy universe seems to increase. It is heard, for illustration, when Blanche arrives at Elysian Fields and grows louder when she informs Stella about the loss of Belle Reve every bit good as when Stanley tells her that Stella is traveling to hold a babe. It besides suggests the autumn of Blanche as it is swelling when Stanley rapes Blanche and afterwards when he consoles Stella, who cries because of Blanche ‘s departure.

Another music, which is strongly connected with Blanche ‘s yesteryear, is the polka music. It is ever heard when Blanche negotiations about her dead hubby. It emerges for the first clip when Stanley references that Blanche was married one time ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 28 ) . She tells Mitch the narrative about her hubby ‘s decease, he shot himself after dancing with Blanche in a casino. He was homosexual and she discovered him with another adult male and said while dancing he disgusted her ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 103 ) and hence he shot himself. It besides appears when Stanley gives Blanche a ticket back to Laurel where she lived and when he takes Stella to the infirmary and Blanche remains in the level. So the vocal predicts Blanche ‘s ruin, as it is ever heard when she is haunted by her yesteryear.


3.2.3. Stating Name callings

There are assorted stating names in Williams drama. Blanche ‘s name itself is rather revealing, as “ blanche ” is Gallic and means “ white ” , which is really fitting when looking at her character. The name of her plantation, “ Belle Reve ” is besides Gallic, intending “ beautiful dream ” . Blanche behaves like she would still populate in this dream, declining to confront the truth and the existent universe.

There are many more revealing names, but I want to concentrate now on the possibly most of import one, the “ Streetcar Named Desire ” as it is the rubric of the drama. Blanche takes the “ tram named Desire ” ( Williams, Streetcar Named Desire 9 ) to acquire to the flat of the Kowalskis. This is really stating itself, as the audience finds out more and more about her yesteryear and that she leaved Laurel as a broken adult female somehow, but her desire to populate her life as an elegant, trusty and honorable adult female is still present. So she tries to populate a, for her, desirable life, and she hopes to happen that in New Orleans.

By the assistance of the stating names, which are seeable from the beginning of the drama on, the usage of music and the different symbols which appear frequently, it seems really theatrical and plastic. The audience gets an feeling of the characters and the fortunes in assorted ways.


4. Decision

In Tennessee Williams ‘ A Streetcar Named Desire, the struggle between Romanticism and Realism, embodied by the two supporters Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski, is the major subject of the drama. With the assistance of the word picture of these supporters and the account of the struggle between them I was able to verify this thesis. These two individuals are really polarized, seeable through their points of position, their behaviour and gestures. But in the terminal, merely one point of position is feasible, viz. the realistic one of Stanley. Blanche lives in her dream universe, even in the terminal after her colza. Stanley is non able to oppress her, but she can merely last in her romantic phantasy universe, which leads to the feeling that she can non be in the modern age.

The Truth behind things in this drama is besides seeable through the “ Plastic Theatre ” . Williams caricatured this concealed truth by the usage of music and sounds, symbols and motives, and stating names. My impressions about Blanche ‘s bathing, the Blue Piano and the Polka in the drama, and the stating names were model for this plastic and sculptural theater, and hence I showed the being of a truth behind things and that the term of the “ Plastic Theatre ” fits for A Streetcar Named Desire.


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