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The Importance of Characters' Past in Realist Drama based on Stre...

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The Importance of Characters' Past in Realist Drama based on Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams and A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen Literature: Drama/Theatre

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In realist drama emphasis is placed on the depth of characters. It is characterized for its non-stereotypical characters that enhance the realism of the play. The past of characters has a great deal to do with defining a character's personality and conduct. This essay will examine with the aid of A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams and A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen the way the past of characters enlarges and enriches character portrayal and evaluate the use and importance of characters' lives prior to the events of both plays to explain or complicate events included in the plays.

In Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire Blanche Dubois is presented as a faded, extravagant, flirtatious women of questionable honesty. She is very concerned of the image she is seen by and what others may think of her.

We find out during the play that she has been married very young to an equally young man. She had suffered a great disappointment and confusion because her husband had not wanted her on their honeymoon. Later she discovered her husband to be a homosexual. Her immediate response had been one of pretended ease but later in the evening she told Alan how he disgusted her. He ended up shooting himself over his young wife's words.

This event may explain why Blanche has such a need for affection from men in any form. She wants to be noticed and desired, "[Men] don't even admit your existence unless they are making love to you." She looks for love in all the wrong places with a naive desire to believe that what she was obtaining was love and admiration, not purely an interest in pleasure. She voluntarily escapes to her own reality where she is all she desires to be and all adore and have a high regard for her. This she does during her stay at the flamingo, which gave her quite a reputation that caught up with her in Elysian Fields. She lost her job for her intimate relationship with a student and still at her sister's house flirts with delivery boys...