A Streetcar Named Desire: Essay Example - Self Deception & Reality

  • Created by: Charlotte
  • Created on: 29-12-16 15:46

Explore the ways in which Williams presents self-deception and reality in A Streetcar Named Desire. You must relate your discussion to relevant contextual factors.

In ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, self-deception and reality are key ideas presented throughout the entirety of the play and are perhaps the two most important themes which are explored. The 11 scene play shows the downfall of the protagonist Blanche DuBois and the web of lies she spins whilst the other characters, notably Stanley, try to sift through the truth.

The character of Blanche DuBois is single-handedly the most obvious example of self-deception in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’. It is her hamartia. From the immediate onset of the play, the audience see Blanche deceiving herself as her “appearance is incongruous to [the] setting”. She is dressed in white, a colour which connotes purity and innocence an image that Blanche attempts to portray, however this juxtaposes her surroundings as there is an “atmosphere of decay”. The white colour makes her stand out from her dingy surroundings of mundane New Orleans and represents how she is a social outsider, consequently reinforcing how at times she feels like a victim and why possible audiences may feel sympathy for her. Throughout the play, Williams uses dramatic irony to show Blanche consistently lying to the other characters making her seem somewhat unlikeable. One of the first things Blanche does when she arrives at her sister’s house is look for a drink. “She springs up and crosses to it, and removes a whiskey bottle” The use of “springs” makes it seem like a drink for Blanche is a necessity and she deceives herself in to thinking it will get rid of all her problems. She then repeatedly denies her intimacy with alcohol saying “One’s my limit” or “I rarely touch it” when the audience know fully well that she drinks as they have seen her already have multiple drinks within the first few scenes. She experiences difficulty when confronted with her past (which was full of pain) and it’s later revealed that she drinks as a coping method but her failure to be able to face the truth form the exposition of the play catalyses her decent in to insanity and has resulted in numerous stories all of which are lies and fakes, and it is this deception used by Blanche to keep reality at bay not only for herself but also for those around her. Blanche’s alcoholism may be modelled of William's own personal experiences as he was known for modelling his most memorable characters off aspects of his own life. William's father was a heavy drinker and he loathed his father, which may be an explanation as to why he created Blanche in an obnoxious manner. At the play progresses we see Blanche’s developing obsession with bathing. "Blanches is bathing." Throughout the play we see Blanche phase many times it is her way of coping with the past as she says it relaxes her. However it may be symbolic of…


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