Tennessee Williams’ Harold Mitchel: Chivalrous Knight to Cowardly Boy
In Tennessee William’s play “A Streetcar Named Desire”, Harold Mitchel stands out as a chivalrous man among his group of friends and thus catches the eye of Blanche DuBois. Blanche desperately relies on his gentlemanly nature and demands a certain amount of cavalier that he is pleased to match. Harold, better knows as Mitch, gets clumsily excited around Blanche’s extraordinary behavior, which, in substitute, feeds her desire to be pursued by young men. Mitch initially appears to be Blanche’s knight in shining armor, launching a flirty courtship from which he has as much to gain as she does, until he reveals himself as cowardly and immature and condemns them both to solitude. The magnetic attraction between Mitch and Blanche is imminent upon their very first introduction to each other. Mitch greets Blanche “with awkward courtesy” and is caught being distracted by her when he almost walks off with a towel from the bathroom (Williams 63). Blanche is left intrigued and places him as “superior to the others”, claiming him to have “a sort of sensitive look” (Williams 63). Mitch continues on to flirt with Blanche, fixing her paper lantern over a light for her, complimenting that she is “certainly not an old maid”, and exclaiming that she must be a professor of the arts when she tells him of her teaching career (Williams 65). Mitch easily falls for Blanche’s outgoing nature and plays along, even dancing like a bear while she waltzes around the room (Williams 65). Within all this chivalry, is the ability to save Blanche from her own self and the darkness that she hides in. Blanche is mortified at the idea of aging, especially aging alone, and Mitch gives her hope through kindness and acceptance, freeing her of the emotional shackles that hold her back. Blanche needs Mitch desperately, as he is her last chance at happiness, but it is also true that Mitch needs Blanche just as urgently. He even goes...
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