Streetcar Named Desire

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To what extent would you consider A Streetcar named Desire to be a tragedy? There are many types of tragedy, traditional - such as Aristotelian – domestic and modern day tragedy. A streetcar named desire does not conform to the traditional definition of tragedy but does contain some components that relate; such as, the play does have a tragic hero and a tragic villain - it is just ambiguous as to whom they are - and they all have tragic flaws. A streetcar named desire is more of an adaption of tragedy rather than a traditional tragedy. Whilst it may not conform to Aristotelian conventions of tragedy it is clear that the play goes some way to redefine the genre in a modern setting, making it a modern day tragedy. In order for it to be a tragedy, the play needs to have a tragic hero – a tragic hero needs a fall. In Streetcar the tragic hero is unclear but can be argued to be Blanche or her sister Stella. Blanche gets progressively worse throughout the play which can be shown by her appearance in the stage directions. ‘she is daintily dressed in a white suit with a fluffy bodice, necklace and earrings of pearl, white gloves and hat, looking as if she were arriving at a summer tea…’by turning up in the play with many layers of clothes on and all in white, Blanche appears to be the picture of innocence. The pearl jewellery also adds a sense of wealth but with this shows that not everything is as they appear. Although pearls are expensive and are supposed to mean precious things, they are also grey – almost white- with a bluish tinge; blue being the colour of depression and grey the colour of sickness. This shows the audience that although she may seem composed at the beginning, there’s already many moments that have happened to lead her to be damaged and seeking refuge with her sister. When we compare this to her appearance at the end of the play we see that she ‘…appears in the amber light of the door. She has a tragic radiance in her red satin robe following the...
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