Exploring Existential Elements in the Works of Tenessee Williams

Topics: The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams, The Rose Tattoo Pages: 6 (2209 words) Published: September 29, 2012
Exploring the Existential Motive of Thoughts in the Major Plays of Tennessee Williams
Tennessee Williams is remembered and respected for his revolutionary thoughts conveyed through his dramas. He is an American playwright and his thematic concerns are distinctive. His plays are seen as the making of American classics. He was an electrifying scene maker and an acknowledged master of stage poetics. Tennessee Williams shocked the audience with his powerful emotional plays and won great praise from the world all-around. His genius lied in his capacity to tell his stories. Though he is considered a playwright but he was a versatile writer who produced short stories, novels, poetry, essays, screenplays and a volume of memoirs. His reputation rest upon more than 40 years of critical productivity accrued by two of his masterpieces “The Glass Menagerie”, and ”The Street Car Named Desire”-and by more than 60 plays. Theater scholar Charlotte Canning, of the University of Texas at Austin where Williams' archives are located, has said, "There is no more influential 20th-century American playwright than Tennessee Williams... He inspired future generations of writers as diverse as Tony Kushner, David Mamet and John Waters and his plays remain among the most produced in the world."[1] While he himself was influenced by Eugene O’Neill, Hart Crane, Shakespeare, August Strindberg, William Faukner, Tomas Wolfe, Emily Dickinson, James Joyce, Anton Chekhov, G.B.Shaw and most deeply by D.H.Lawrence. Williams received all the prestigious theatrical awards for his works of drama, which include four New York Drama Critics’ Circle awards for “A CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF(1955)”,”THE STREET CAR NAMED DESIRE(1948)”,”THE GLASS MANEGERIE”(1944-45), and “THE NIGHT OF IGUANA” , a Tony Awards for best play for “The Rose Tattoo (1951)”;two Pulitzer Prize for “The Street Car Named Desire,(1948)”and for ”A Cat on A Hot Tin Roof,1955”. Williams artistic outputs prove that Williams was not a flash in the pan but a solid gold playwright. In 1980 he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter and is today acknowledged as one of the most accomplished playwrights in the history of English speaking theater.

Williams produced a long string of masterpieces that changed American theatre and shaped American imagination. Through his dramas he produced a mechanism of human personality and behaviour which served as the most overwhelming stimuli for the audience. Williams’ contribution to American theatrical development is amazing. His plays are remarkable for poetic literary individuality. His concept of life is a reliable path breaking phenomenon which guides men to live a life of freedom He is praised for his rich writing skills and voluminous productivity. His stature is based upon the works which came during the first half of his literary career. His latter plays feel frantic .They show effortful attempts of its author to dig into the tradition which does not get comfortable support either from the audience or from any literary critic. Perhaps so he could not manage to keep the same grasp over his audience. As his latter plays are merely the derivatives of his original genius. These plays lack the stirring themes and freshness which was once his characteristic dramatic feature. He remained limited within his adopted the style of expressionists.

Williams’ own life was woven with troubles, misery, uncertain tiresome experiences, alcohol and drug addiction. His sense of belonging and comfort were lost this made him to look inward and to write as he found life unsatisfactory. Perhaps so the dominating fervour of his plays was taken from his own life. His plays serve as the connective elements of the characters and plot of his own life. He himself has told “My work is essentially Autobiographical. It has no relationship to actual events of my life,...
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