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A Streetcar Named Desire

In A Streetcar Named Desire, the playwright has crafted a well-designed play in which the characters reflect different altitudes toward dreams and reality, and these characters are differentiated by the degree of illusion they require to function in this world. This clash represents the theme, which is that people often need illusion in order to survive. Stanley Kowalski is the character seen as most realistic, and his directness conflicts with the need for illusion of someone like Blanche DuBois. His friend Mitch is something of a romantic, while Stanley's wife also takes a realistic position to counter her own romantic nature, though in the end, she also accepts an illusion in order not to destroy her marriage. In this world, those who require the most illusion are also the most easily destroyed when reality intrudes, and Blanche is destroyed by Stanley's version of reality.

Blanche DuBois envisions herself as a martyr and often complains about the way life has treated her. The loss of her and Stella's childhood home is a key reference point, the beginning of the need for illusion. Blanche's character is revealed by contrast with that of Stanley. A key conflict is seen in the threat Blanche poses to the domestic life of Stanley and Stella. Stanley is a character who is open and direct. From the beginning of the play he is made to seem animal-like. The first line of the play has Stanley yelling up at his wife, "Hey, there! Stella, baby!" (Williams 13), and he tosses her a package of raw meat, a symbol of his brute nature. Stanley is rough and crude, but he is also honest and open and says what he means while challenging anyone to dispute him. Stanley faces the world as it is and expects the world to take him at face value. Blanche, on the other hand, never faces reality because it makes her unhappy, and yet the illusion does no more than hide her unhappiness for a short time.

Blanche DuBois has withdrawn into th...

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A Streetcar Named Desire. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:48, July 01, 2022, from