How does Williams develop the Character of Amanda Wingfield in Act One of The Glass Menagerie?
During Act One of The Glass Menagerie, Amanda Wingfield faces the revelation that her daughter Laura has not been attending business college, but has instead been “going out walking”, and after a brief period of despondency decides that Laura needs to get married. Throughout, it is clear that Williams intends for Amanda to be seen as misguided rather than malicious; her motivation for actions that have disastrous consequences, simply wants the best for her children rather than anything else.
Amanda is naturally horrified and disappointed when she returns home and finds out that Laura has been deceiving her, and exaggerates her reaction with “a bit of acting” which has the desired effect of making Laura feel hugely guilty. However, Amanda knows Laura’s “exquisitely fragile” disposition better than anyone else, including Tom, and clearly does not want to prolong Laura’s agony and humiliation any longer. It is apparent that Amanda sees her and Laura’s future as one and the same, evidenced by her use of the first person plural pronoun when she stops berating her daughter and begins questioning what they will do “the rest of our lives”. Williams’ use of the adverb “hopelessly” represents the despair that Amanda feels at the realisation that Laura will never be independent and successful: she has built her own hopes and dreams around her daughter, and the fact that she “laughs wearily” suggests that this was the last resort that she had.
Despite that fact that the use of the plural pronouns and the term of endearment “darling” show that she does love in fact love Laura very much, Amanda is not above making digs at Laura to increase her guilt and impress the gravity of their situation upon her through the rhetorical questions which Laura is clearly not able to answer. She juxtaposes the concepts of “business career” and the deliberately under exaggerated “nervous...
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