(Streetcar/Malfi) Status

  • Created by: NHow02
  • Created on: 24-02-19 15:35
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  • Status
    • Malfi
      • 'Diamonds are of most value they say, that have passed through most jeweller's hands'
        • Defined by materialism and wealth. (Webster fails to give her a name - a prize to be won)
          • Highborn 'Renaissance marriages' were practical matters and used for alliances
          • High Society dances 'silently behind crystal panels' suggesting 'a sort of transparent mirror'
            • Webster uses this play to reflect the secrecy & corruption of the English court
              • Of which the Duchess and her status is unavoidably a part of
            • Webster's zealous & thematic use of jewel symbolism
        • Hard jewels, representing durability & stability (also reflect light)
          • The distinction between good & evil were important parts of Elizabethan society
          • Elizabethan belief that fate was written in the stars/ predetermined by God
        • 'Jeweller's hands' - moulded into a 'feminine ideal' OR her virtue is improved with sexual experience
        • 'All the diamonds were changed to pearls'
          • 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
          • 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
    • Streetcar
      • South
        • 'Rhinestone tiara'
          • Juxtaposition of cheapness with a royal symbol creates an affected effect
          • Ironic image - wants to be seen as a 'queen' of high society
            • Patriarchal/ social opinions would view her as of the lowest class, no better than a prostitute
          • 'sunken treasures'
            • Superiority stems from Southern upbringing at 'Belle Reve'
              • After the Civil War, Southern wealth melted away as slave labour was abolished by Lincoln in 1863
                • Stanley sees her as a 'pirate' as her existence violates his social views
      • Men
        • 'primary colours'/'raw colours of childhood's spectrum'
          • 'childhood' could suggest that for men, the world is a playground, and women are the victims
          • Women have the most to lose, and are playing a rigged game
            • The American Dream expressed equality of opportunity for any American
          • 'raw' emphasis the idea of 'survival of the fittest'
          • Eric Bentley: describes the play as a 'clash of species'
            • The original title of the play was 'The Poker Night'
            • Sense of competition between genders was introduced after WW2
            • Women were deprived of their liberty/ autonomy in work after the men returned from war


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