A Streetcar Named Desire notes for scene 10

A Streetcar Named Desire notes for scene 10

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Scene Ten
This scene is the dramatic climax of the play
Throughout this scene Williams uses every means available to create an atmosphere of
­ opening stage directions ­ Blanche's "soiled and crumpled" evening dress and her
"scuffed silver slippers"
­ When she breaks the mirror we are reminded that this brings bad luck
­ Stagecraft ­ when Stanley turns on Blanche her terror takes on a visible form as
"grotesque and menacing" shapes close in around her
­ the ugly, violent scenes within the apartment are mirrored by the ugly, violent
scenes on the street outside
­ the effect of the "inhuman voices likes cries in a jungle" and sinuous shadows on the
walls around Blanche are to create a shocking visual and sound impact in keeping
with the horror of a man raping his sister-in-law while his wife is giving birth to their
The Rape
Williams mimics classical tragedy by not showing the rape. Why?
­ the omission of the rape heightens our sense of its effectiveness
­ its omission also reflects the notions of acceptable stage behaviour held by
Americans in 1947
­ the sense of the inevitability of the rape is another reason why it seems unnecessary
that it takes place on-stage
The way Stanley terrorises Blanche by shattering her self-delusions parallels and
foreshadows his physical rape of her
The impending rape is symbolised through Stanley's macho animalistic body language ­
"snake", "springs towards her". He is described as more animal-like than human
Stage directions ­ the jungle noises symbolise the primitive nature of Stanley and danger for
His rape of Blanche when he is at his most triumphant ( just before the birth of his son) and
she is at her most psychologically vulnerable symbolises the ultimate act of cruelty
The rape symbolises the final destruction of the Old South's genteel fantasy world
symbolised by Blanche, by the cruel but vibrant present symbolised by Stanley

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The rape further symbolises that in the new world of the South, animal instinct and common
sense win out over lofty ideals and romantic notions
Blanche's silent resignation as Stanley carries her to the bed indicates the utter defeat of her
If the rape symbolises realism, then surely this means that Blanche's world of dreams and
fantasies is a better alternative
The transparent setting illustrates that home is not a safe option for Blanche.…read more


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