Streetcar Named Desire

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Compare and contrast the way the a struggle for power is presented in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams and ‘Making History’ by Brain Friel. How far do you agree that the struggle for power has a more devastating effect on Friel's O’Neill than Williams’ Blanche?

Power is definable as the ability of doing or accomplishing something, it is used as one of the main themes in each play in different ways. Both Friel and Williams use the theme of power to show the struggle in society and to define the main protagonists in the play.

Making History was set in Ireland in August 1591. The play extends over a period of 20 years, from 1591 to 1611, the Renaissance period in Ireland. This saw England become an unified state and gave England the task of moulding the world in its own image, using its new found power as a nation. During this time tensions between the Irish and English were high due to religion. These factors are shown throughout the play as we see the problems faced by the characters within the power struggle for religious identity. The way O'Neill acts shows his uncertainty of power with question after question suggesting weakness and reliance. On the other hand, A Streetcar Named Desire was set in New Orleans in the later 1940s. Many of the major themes of A Streetcar Named Desire are embodied in the history and culture of New Orleans. The play is set to begin after the Second World War and also after the American Civil War. There was high recognition to class differences and also race differences during this time period. Blanche’s character being compared to a moth hint at Blanches fragility and also link to women’s vulnerability and the way they were seen as lower in society in the eyes of power at the time. Other factors such as Blanche’s mental state of mind, which is slowly unveiled throughout the course of the play, show how she has trouble dealing with the ugly reality of the outside world and how she is threatened when trying to...
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