Cat on a Hot Tin Bed
Space is an important element in drama since the stage itself represents a space where action is presented. Plays can differ significantly with regard to how space is presented and how much information about space is offered. The analysis of places and settings in plays can help one get a better feel for characters and their behavior but also for the overall atmosphere. The layout and overall appearance of the set is usually described in stage directions or descriptions at the beginning of acts or scenes. The fact that the description of the stage sets in the secondary text are sometimes very detailed and sometimes hardly worth mentioning is another crucial starting point for further analysis since that can tell us something about more general functions of settings. This is very much so true in Tennessee Williams play Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. The extensive “Notes for the Designer” introduces the reader to the setting for the entire play, the bed-sitting room of Brick and Maggie in Big Daddy's Southern Mansion. Though all of Williams's stage notes merit careful consideration, it is undeniable that certain elements of the setting have strong symbolic elements. Through these symbolic elements greater insight into the emotional composition of Brick and Maggie and the over riding homosexual tension of the play can be unearthed. Williams explicates some of the symbolic elements like the console that holds a radio-phonograph, television, and liquor cabinet, in the notes. It is to serve as a shrine to the "comforts and illusions" (6) behind which people hide from the things, and throughout the play offers the characters auditory and with alcohol, sensory distraction. However a more passive symbolic set element of the play is the large double bed which Williams’s instructs the actors to make a “functional part of the set as often as possible” (6). This large furnishing is the focal point of the set, as it is the focal point of...
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