A Streetcar Named Desired

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The Character of Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire

Blanche, Stella's is by far the most complex character of the play. An intelligent and sensitive woman who values literature and the creativity of the human imagination, she is also emotionally traumatised and repressed. This gives license for her own imagination to become a haven for her pain. One senses that Blanches own view of her real self as opposed to her ideal self has been increasingly blurred over the years until it is sometimes difficult for her to tell the difference. It is a challenge to find the key to Blanche's melancholy but perhaps the roots of her trauma lie in her early marriage. She was haunted by her inability to help or understand her young, troubled husband and that she has tortured herself for it ever since. Her drive to lose herself in the "kindness of strangers" might also be understood from this period in that her sense of confidence in her own feminine attraction was shaken by the knowledge of her husband's homosexuality and she is driven to use her sexual charms to attract men over and over. Yet, beneath all this, there is a desire to find a companion, to find fulfilment in love. She is not successful because of her refusal or inability to face reality, in her circumstances and in herself. Blanche has a hard time confronting her mixed desires and therefore is never able to sort them out and deal with them. She wants a cultured man but is often subconsciously attracted to strong, basic male characters, perhaps a response to her marriage with a cultured, sensitive man which ended in disaster. So although Blanche dislikes Stanley as a person, she is drawn to him as a type of man who is resoundingly heterosexual and who is strong enough to protect her from an increasingly harsh world. This seems to be the reason for her brief relationship with Mitch, but it becomes clear to Blanche that Stanley is the dominant male here and she begins to acknowledge that fact. When...
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