Streetcar Named Desire

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A Streetcar Named Desire Essay

2. Human illusions have always been a powerful subject of plays, both tragic and comic. In what ways has Williams considered this aspect of human behavior and with what effects?

In the play “A Streetcar Named Desire”, Tennessee Williams has considered human illusions through the use of a few conventions of drama. The language attributed to certain characters creates unrealistic images of approaches to situations at hand. He uses symbols and props to transmit the illusions that each character undergoes. The stage business, or non-verbal gestures, performed by characters, denotes denial of reality through the attempt to create a mellower world. The effect of such ways to consider human illusion as an aspect of human behavior is the emphasis on the social differences between the American Old and New South, symbolized by Blanche and Stanley respectively.

The first way through which Williams considered human illusions in his play is through language. The author uses monologues and speeches to include literary conventions that will transmit the idea of illusion. When Blanche first arrives in Stella’s apartment, they have a dialogue in which Blanche gives her first impressions of the scenery and explains the reasons she left her homeland. It is one of the first contacts the audience has with Blanche, a key character regarding human illusion as a theme in the play. During this dialogue, Blanche uses several euphemisms and sophisticated language to transmit her view and events preceding the scene. Blanche uses the euphemisms to make the new environment she has to live in be perceived as more pleasing and to alleviate the hardships of her recent past. Shortly after the beginning of the conversation, Blanche desperately looks for the whisky and reassures her sister, it’s “just water, baby, to chase it” and that she “[hasn’t] turned into a drunkard” (Williams 121). She is tries to conceal her alcoholic tendencies, creating a world of...
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