(Streetcar/Malfi) Ambition/Madness

  • Created by: NHow02
  • Created on: 30-12-18 13:21
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  • Ambition/ Madness
    • Malfi
      • 'Like plum trees that grow crooked over standing pools'
        • 'Standing' suggests contamination + disease
          • 'pools' incites reflection/ judgement
        • Natural image used to describe an unnatural society, creates a recessive effect (Like Stanley)
          • Simile references the 'tree of life' in the Garden of Eden and the 'forbidden fruit'
        • Lack of sustenance/ nutrients. Sycophants seek further corruption
        • 'o'erladen with fruit.'
          • Blble states 'nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit'
            • Lucy Webster: A 'world that is more sinned against than sinning'
          • Weight of Upper Classes ('fruit') creates a crooked class system
          • Bible states 'you will recognise them (Jesus's followers) by their fruits'
      • 'diamonds are of most value, they say, that have passed through most jeweller's hands'
        • 'Jeweller's hands' - moulded into a 'feminine ideal' OR her virtue is improved with sexual experience
        • 'I winked and chose a husband'
          • 'winked' creates a flirtatious effect + shows her autonomous personality
            • Highborn 'Renaissance marriages' were practical matters and used for alliances
            • 'Hysteria' is derived from the Latin word 'Hyster' meaning 'womb'
        • 'All the diamonds were changed to pearls'
          • Elizabeth I was often painted wearing pearls to present her as a 'virgin queen'
            • Leggatt: 'variety and vitality of her nature as a whole.'
              • However, still a well sought after jewel. Duchess retains her authority
          • Duchess' status was a mask against life's harsh realities (only thing that protected her and she cast it aside)
            • The Bible states that Adam & Eve wept a lake of pearls after being cast out of paradise
          • 'I have this night digged up a mandrake'
            • Aphrodisiac + poison (once uprooted it drives someone insane)
              • TS Eliot: Webster always saw the 'skull beneath the skin'
                • Webster uses this play to reflect the secrecy & corruption of the English court
            • ForeshadowsFerdinand's lycanthropia (creates devilish/ beastial effect)
              • Ferdinand gave in to his baser instincts of 'ambition blood or lust'
                • Mental illness was associated with lack of morals (possessed by the Devil)
        • Defined by materialism and wealth. (Webster fails to give her a name - a prize to be won)
    • Streetcar
      • Scene 8: [the 'Varsouviana' steals in softly]
        • 'that music - again...'
          • By scene nine, her sentences begin falling apart
        • Sibilance creates a stealthy effect (suggests Blanche is victimised by her own mind)
        • Williams often introduces recurring themes such as the Polka tune, the bath motif + Shep
          • [as if actually talking to Shep]
            • 'as if' creates a questionable effect (Shep is also a recurring theme)
              • Williams' sister was admitted to an insane asylum and subject to a lobotomy
            • Later Stella mentions Blanche is 'mixed in her mind'
        • Symbolizes Blanche's remorse + her descent into fantasy
          • Scene 1: [polka tune rises up, faint in the distance]
            • Scene 11: [filtered into a weird distortion, accompanied by the cries and noises of the jungle]
              • Stage directions suggest a feverish effect
                • Darwinian idea of 'survival of the fittest'
                  • Shawn Alff describes the play as a 'heathens paradise'
                    • The ideal of the American Dream
              • By entering the 'polka game' of life, Blanche seals her fate
                • The play was originally called 'The Polka Night'
              • Number of time the tune plays increases towards the end
        • Typically an upbeat tune (she cannot let go of her past)
          • New Orleans was seen as a 'melting pot' of cultural influences
            • New Orleans, which is nicknamed "The City That Care Forgot" and "The Big Easy", has reputation of excess and sexual freedom.
      • 'peels of laughter are heard as if a child were frolicking in the tub'
        • The homophone 'peels' suggests Blanche is ********* away her sins as well as reality
          • Reminiscent of Lady Macbeth, who is stained by her sins (seeking purity)
          • Williams: 'destructive power of society on the sensitive non-conformist individual'
        • Child-like image suggests she is seeking rejuvenation as if the bath was a 'fountain of youth'


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