A Streetcar Named Desire: Emphasis on the Contrast Between the Masculine and Feminine

Tennessee Williams’ play, A Streetcar Named Desire revolves around the male-female dynamic, as most of the other writings of the American playwright. In this sense, the relationships that develop between Stanley Kowalski on the one hand, and the two sisters, Stella Kowalski, his wife and Blanche DuBois are essential for the understanding of the work. To solve the equation made by these three characters, we mustfirst investigate the main characteristics of each of them. The unknown element in the equation is also a common theme of all of Williams’ plays: desire and the way in which it structures human life.
The three main characters of the play are drafted to suit Williams’ specific view of the relationship between women and men: Stanley is the brute-like male, Blanche the embodiment of the feminine delicate and over-imaginative spirit, and Stella, the submissive, weak type of woman, healthy and dedicated to her husband and family. Thus, Stanley is the prototype of absolute manhood, a virile character with animal brutishness and strong instincts. He is almost devoid of any sensitivity and insight. As a typical male figure, he is driven in his relationships with women only by the animal instinct that urges him to conquer and submit them by force. The author’s description of Stanley is very telling in this respect: “Since his earliest manhood the center of his life has been pleasure with women, the giving and taking of it, not with weak indulgence, dependently, but with the power and pride of a richly feathered male bird among hens … everything that is his … bears his emblem of the gaudy seed-bearer. “(Williams, 16) Blanche’s opinion about her sister’s husband also emphasizes his sub-human features. She especially sees him as brute, an ape-like, primitive creature that is unable to feel or to understand any sensible thing. Thus, she warns the submissive and naive Stella about his fierce and brute-like character: “He acts like an …


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