Sympathy in A Streetcar Named Desire
Throughout A Streetcar Named Desire, Williams’s sympathy lies with Blanche. He creates this sympathy, in a large part, from the obvious trauma she has experienced due to the loss of her husband. This traumatic loss of her beloved was a driving force for the downward spiral that leads Blanche to Stella’s doorstep. However, the events that drive Blanche to her ultimate defeat do not begin until after Allan’s death, and even she admits, “After the death of Allan – intimacies with strangers was all I seemed able to fill my empty heart with … I think it was panic, that drove me from one to another, hunting some protection” (). Here, Williams implies that Blanche is not like this herself; the disintegration of the loving marriage she once clung to dissipates her naïve, youthful innocence and leads to a bad path. Blanche’s heartbreak following her first love causes her to descend into the degeneration that becomes her ruin, which is a fact that lends empathetic justification and a sorrowful light to her actions. Furthermore, another situation in which shows sympathy toward Blanche is her most dramatic victimization in the play; her rape. Although many individuals may view Stanley’s rape of Blanche as a way Williams brought poetic justice to Blanche, if you take a closer look, you will see that it is indeed an antagonistic victimization of her. In fact the “inhumane voices” and “lurid reflections” in scenes ten and eleven are described by Williams during the rape scene as “grotesque” and “menacing,” which is an effect particularly unsettling in conjunction with Blanche’s protests of “I warn you, don’t, I’m in danger!” The dark mood of the rape scene illustrates that, in no way, was Blanche compliant with Stanley’s violation, in return, furthering the feeling of sympathy toward her. In A Streetcar Named Desire’s final scene, Williams makes his sympathetic tone toward Blanche real by exploiting her vulnerability before the...
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