After the Streetcar

Drama and Theater / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
Blanche Dubois as the tragic hero of Tennessee Williams’ `A Streetcar Named Desire`.

This paper uses the Aristotelian definitions of tragedy in order to place Blanche Dubois as the tragic hero in `A Streetcar Named Desire.` The paper first looks at the symbolic and actual setting of the play, then analyzes Blanche’s character to find her “tragic flaw/s.” The essay shows Blanche as a creator of her own fate, not a victim of Fate.
“It is the view of the Kowalski’s apartment as a representation of the afterlife, a place of punishment and reward, which first introduces to us Blanche as a self-determining tragic protagonist. If the afterlife is fair, and we must assume it to be, then she has earned her rewards and punishments there. Yet this is not only a story of earned consequences, but also of Blanche’s metaphorical “expulsion from paradise,” though this is certainly a paradise much troubled. Elia Kazan, the director of this play under Williams, realized the mythological fall from “grace” in his “intuition and then conviction…that he should envision each of the eleven scenes as a step in Blanche’s progression from arrival to expulsion. It is astonishing to follow how easily Tennessee Williams casts a victim of rape and social oppression into a mold built around self-destruction.


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