At Streetcar Named Desire: Critics interpretations

This is just a quick overview of some critic interpretations. Sorry if you can't see everything as some overlap, but this is my first time doing one of these so hopefully I might be able to work it out one day!

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  • Created by: Hannah274
  • Created on: 09-05-16 19:26
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  • Critic interpretations of A Streetcar Named Desire.
    • Brooks Atkinson - 'Since she (Blanche) is created on the stage as a distinct individual.'
      • This can be used to show the complexities of Blanche's character. She has so much composed within her. she constantly walks the fine line between sanity and insanity, reality and illusion, sexual promiscuity and innocence.
    • Joseph Wood Krutch - "the author's perceptions remain subtle and delicate and he is amazingly aware of nuances even in situations where nuance might seem to be inevitably obliterated by violence."
      • Even when the most sensationalist and melodramatic moments of the play happen, Williams can be seen to promote a deeper level of thinking. Such as ' cries in a jungle', the violence towards Blanche is implied whilst also portraying Stanley as something primitive and base.
    • Elia Kazan - "poetic tragedy"
      • We can see this in the contrasting elements in Blanche's character. Her supposed role as the perfect virtuous southern Belle juxtaposed with her alcoholism, fake refined cloths and prostitution.
    • John Gassner - "In Streetcar, poetic drama becomes psychological reality."
      • When Blanche runs to New Orleans to escape her less than glittering past. Then she insists that her life is the only one to live, 'Animal,' however we know that this stance is ultimately doomed to fail as Blanche is the remnants of a decaying society, of one that is failing. And ultimately this leads to her mental destruction.
    • Nancy Tischner - "Williams wants the audience to believe that Stella is wrong in loving Stanley but right in living with him."
      • No-one in this play is truly innocent. Blanche is a superficial woman, clinging onto a crumbling past which will only hurt her more. Stanley is a degenerate brute who is deemed no better than an animal. Stella is seen to be a submissive housewife, she is smart enough to change with the times but not smart enough to realise that the times are dangerous and violent.
    • Joseph Wood Krutch - "Blanche chooses the dead past and becomes a victim of that impossible choice."
      • By showing that Blanche is willing to die with the Old South as it is the only society that she knows, the audience becomes sympathetic towards her plight. We recognise that the movement of the apparent refinement and civilisation of the Old South is something that Blanche knows she must do, ("maybe he's what we need to mix with our blood now that we've lost Belle Reve.") however it just cannot seem possible for her to leave her ideals behind.
    • Gassner - "Blanche, who needs every consideration, is thrust into a brute world that gives her no consideration."
      • This can be seen as especially true in the culmination of the play, where Williams uses his theme of Plastic Theatre to allow the audience to know that Blanche is not in a safe place. The 'cries in a jungle' and when the 'blue piano begins to drum louder.' onl,y serve to emphasise this.


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