What Defines Blanche Dubois

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What defines Blanche Dubois? Does tragic define her? Does heroine define her? As Aristotle once said “a man cannot become a hero until he can see the root of his own downfall”. Every hero/heroine has a tragic flaw which ultimately leads to their downfall, but can we call Blanche Dubois a tragic heroine? In theatre a tragic heroine is “a literary character who makes an error of judgment or has a fatal flaw that, combined with fate and external forces, brings on a tragedy” Looking at this definition, we would at first glance completely agree that Blanche Dubois entirely fits the criteria of a tragic heroine. She married young only to discover her husband is gay moments before he commits suicide, her father died resulting in her losing all her money and Belle Reeve. She then got fired from her teaching position for having an affair with a student, forcing her to live in a less than modest hotel only to be kicked out again, and is now seeking help from her sister and brother in law who are not entirely comfortable with her presence. It seems as if Blanche Dubois is unwanted wherever she turns, which forces us to ask why. If she is a tragic ‘heroine’ what is so heroic about her? Heroine; a woman possessing heroic qualities or a woman idolized for possessing superior qualities. Does Blanche fit into this category? If we momentarily see her as a ‘heroine’, what is her tragic flaw or Achilles heel? Is it possible that her biggest flaw is her insecurity? She is an aging southern belle who worries about her fading looks, and doesn’t like to be seen in the light as she tells Stella in the first scene “turn that over-light off! Turn that off!” She also tries to hide her true age to Mitch later on and tells him “don’t turn on that light” She is constantly looking for approval and fishing for compliments asking her sister if she looks “hot and frazzled” or if she looks “done in”. Her craving for attention is essentially where her sexual exploits initiate from, it could also be...
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