Genre of A Streetcar Named Desire

  • Created by: Livkeenan
  • Created on: 01-06-18 11:05


  • Focuses tragic heroine, this case Blanche.
  • An essentially noble person whose downfall, leading to death, brought about by a combo of a flaw in their character and fate.
  • Significance in the way other characters affect Blanche...
    • Stella offers kindness and hospitality, only as far as her all-absorbing passion for husband goes, she sacrifices her sister to save her marriage.
    • Stanley resents Blanche, an intruder in an intimate relationship he shares with Stella, B reminds him of his wife's superior background, representing values he won't appreciate.
    • He sees Blanche as an enemy, sets out to drive her away. He and Blanche have antagonism between them which is sexual in nature, assault is a triumph of his sexuality, which wrecks her sanity.
  • The play presents downfall of a weak woman who will rise to tragic dignity in the end.
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Morality play or melodrama


  • When play was first published, many critics thought it was too full of immoral behaviour. 
  • However, the title of the play implies an element of a morality to the play, those who board the streetcar of desire and helpless once they have made the choice to ride it. 
  • Scene one, Blanche changes from Streetcar named Desire to one going to cemeteries, represents sin and death henceforth the moral message is clear. 


  • Stella shows no remorse for what she has done to Blanche until the last scene, 'Oh, God, what have I done to my sister?', in the middle of her 'luxurious' sobbing, later on, she yields to Stanley's love-making, compounding her guilt and representing the choice she has made.
  • The conversation between the sisters explicit about 'brutal desire' that decides their choice.
  • Blanche states the rickety streetcar of desire brought her to where she is now, destitute and living on sister's charity, these words show self-knowledge and self-condemnation 
  • No admission of sin or guilt in play, we are aware of inescapable movement towards catastrophe, some measure of punishment will be given to the guilty. 
  • Blanche sent to an asylum, Stella will stay with Stan but guilt will resonate with Stella as well as their friends for what has happened. 
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  • Melodrama was originally a play with music, later the term came to be used for naively sensational plays with grisly murders, ghosts and villainies.
  • Nowadays, melodrama is seen as a play with plenty of violent action, murders, wicked plots and characters who are either exaggeratedly virtuous or deeply wicked
  • Essential part of a meodrama is its sensational nature.
  • Melodramatic features shown in the characters; the promiscuous, deluded Blanche, her sister who marries a violent man well below her class, and the husband who is determined to himself of an unwelcomed visitor.
  • Numerous melodramatic incidents: Stanley rifling through Blanche's finery, drunken rages, Blanche's hysteria caused by her husband's suicide, Mitch's attempt to have sex with Blanche and the sexual attack.
  • More than enough incidents to label it a melodrama, however, they are introduced to shine a light on the characters and motives, to explain complex emotions beyond the surface.
  • Not typical melodrama due to subtle and varied language.
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