Essay, Research Paper: Term Paper On Theater


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In Tennessee William’s’ play A Streetcar Named Desire, a major theme that is
present is reality versus illusion. In the play, Williams clearly tends to favor
the real world of Stanley and Stella Kowalski, than the imaginary world of the
unfortunate Blanche DuBois. He demonstrates that when the two worlds intersect,
reality will smash the artificial world of illusion. The first evidence that
proves Williams alliance with reality, is Blanche’s life before New Orleans,
in Laurel. Blanche had fell in love and married a boy whom she thought of as
perfect in every way. Unfortunately for her he is a homosexual. This intrusion
of reality breaks up her dream image of her husband, and she tells him how he
disgusts her. He then commits suicide, and Blanche forever blames herself. These
unpleasant realities that have invaded her life, make her find refuge in
promiscuous relationships with all kinds of men. She still believes that she is
a refined and respectable woman, but in reality she is nothing but a tramp whom
is forced to leave Laurel. Another instance where the two worlds conflict is the
night of the poker game. When Stanley gets drunk and beats Stella, Blanche is
extremely upset and disgusted. His actions convince her that she must leave with
Stella. She concocts a ridiculous plan to run away with Shep Huntleigh, an
acquaintance she had seen long ago. Stella being more realistic, knows that this
plan has no merit. She knows that Stanley is crude and violent at times but she
knows how to cope. Besides, she is about to have a baby and cannot raise a child
without a father. Stella decides to stay with Stanley, and seems to forget about
the event as if it never happened. Stella has chosen Stanley over Blanche, and
in the process choosing reality over illusion. The two defining incidents in the
play clearly show that Tennessee Williams favors the world of reality. The
moments before Stanley rapes Blanche is the first time where Blanche gets the
brutal reality to her face. Stanley bashes every illusion that Blanche had
believed. When Blanche says that Shep Huntleigh had contacted her, Stanley
immediately recognizes it as a lie, he states “ There isn’t a goddam thing
but imagination! and lies and conceit and tricks!”. Stanley then rapes
Blanche, shattering her world forever. Weeks after the episode, Blanche could
not convince anybody that she was raped, because nobody could believe her, for
she was always basing things around imagination. The world of reality defeats
Blanche when she is hauled off to a mental institution. The final incident that
solidifies Williams’ alliance with reality, is the poignant scene where Stella
remains with Stanley after her only sister is removed from the house. Stella
could not let herself believe that Stanley had raped Blanche. Stanley comforts
Stella, implying that things will go back to the way they were. In a dream
world, Stella would have made a dramatic exit from Stanley, however in a real
world people do things that they have to do, rather than what they want to do.
With a child involved Stella, must remain with Stanley. Tennessee Williams has
shown the victory of reality over illusion. In A Streetcar Named Desire ,
Tennessee Williams has demonstrated that when the worlds of reality and
imagination clash, realism will defeat and shatter the dream world that a person
has built for himself. He has clearly allied himself with the forces of reality
rather than illusion.
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