Lying Explored in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

“Mendacity is a system that we live in. Liquor is one way out and
death’s the other.”[1] This quote by Tennessee Williams is expressed
throughout one of his best-known works, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and the theme
of mendacity permeates the entire play. Mendacity is a term that refers to
lies, hypocrisy and deception that the Pollitt family uses to escape from
falsehood. The overburdened circumstances of the family crisis reveal
hidden truths that were being held by the characters in the play. Brick
drinks in order to escape mendacity and lies, the Pollitt family, except
Brick lies to Big Daddy about his terminal cancer and Big Daddy himself is
Brick drinks in order to escape mendacity and lies. The alcohol helps
him cope with issues he has bottled up inside and eases the pain he
inflicts on himself by denying the nature of his relationship with Skipper
and his culpability in Skippers self-destruction and death. Brick confesses
to Maggie that alcohol is the only way he can obtain peace of mind and
says, “The click in my head when I’ve had enough of this stuff to make me
peaceful… (1.33)” Brick feels responsible for Skipper’s suicide because
he rejected him after he confessed his feelings for Brick. During hisfirst
real discussion with Big Daddy, Brick spits out his disgust with mendacity.
He is repulsed with the fake life he has been living when his friendship
with recently deceased Skipper was misinterpreted as “dirty”. However, Big
Daddy states that Brick’s disgust with mendacity is really disgust with
Uh-hu. Anyhow now!-we have tracked down the lie with which you’re
disgusted and which you are drinking to kill your disgust with,
Brick. You been passing the buck. This disgust with mendacity is
disgust with yourself. You!-dug the grave of your friend and kicked
him in it!- before you’d face truth with him! (2.127)
Big Daddy genuinely lov…

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