“Tragedies Present an Extreme Form of Disorder...Which Often Leads to the Death of a Central Character”.-Coyle. in What Ways and to What Extent Does Williams’ Use of Language and Dramatic Techniques Suggest That the

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“Tragedies present an extreme form of disorder...which often leads to the death of a central character”.-Coyle. In what ways and to what extent does Williams’ use of language and dramatic techniques suggest that the portrayal of disorder indicates that the play can be regarded as a tragedy? With close study to scenes 1, 5 and 11.

Disorder is a recurring theme in Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” and plays a pivotal part in the play becoming a tragedy. This disorder is displayed throughout the play through many devices such as characterisation, setting, music and stage direction.

An undercurrent of disorder is evident from the very first scene. This is when the plays main protagonist, Blanche DuBois, describes her journey; “Take a streetcar named Desire, and then transfer to one called Cemeteries and get off at-Elysian Fields!”[1] This journey is a metaphor for Blanche’s life and especially her downfall, and the link from desire to death, or at least a psychological death, as we find out later in the play. We understand that, like the streetcar, Blanche rides desire, and this is a metaphor for her sexual activity in the wake of the suicide of her husband, Alan, which leads to her eventual psychological death. This psychological death is symbolised by “Cemeteries”[2]. Finally, Elysian Fields symbolises the end of Blanche’s life journey. Elysian Fields, in Greek mythology, is a resting place for the dead. This sort of metaphorical prolepsis so early in the play allows the audience an early insight into Blanche’s exit from reality and the possible disorder yet to come in the play.

Throughout the play we are shown the conflict between the play’s main antagonist, Stanley, and protagonist, Blanche. In this case, Blanche’s very arrival creates disorder as Stanley and Blanche are polar opposites in almost every aspect. Stanley represents the new American idealism of hard work and reward whereas Blanche represents the Old Money Southern ideals. As...
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