Discuss the dramatic role of the Gentleman Caller in ‘The Glass Menagerie’. In this essay, the dramatic role of the Gentleman Caller in the infamous play ‘The Glass Menagerie’ will be discussed in a number of different roles. First, it will be shown that the Gentleman Caller was the last hope of financial stability for a young woman, Laura, and her mother, as well as the last hope of escape for Laura’s brother, Tom. It will also be shown that Jim, the Gentleman Caller, shatters the lives and illusions of three unhappy people, while, at the same time, connecting the various fantasies of those three people. One may also view how the playwright, Tennessee Williams, made use of pathetic fallacy to warn all of the characters what was about to take place, as the main centre of drama enters and exits their lives in a very short space of time. The Gentleman Caller is of utmost important in this play, as he was Amanda’s very last hope for a daughter that was incapable of succeeding in a business career. The first mention of the Gentleman Caller is at the end of scene two, when Amanda finds out that Laura has failed at Business school. Laura unwittingly speaks about the actual Gentleman Caller, Jim, as the only man she has ever liked (probably the only one that has ever spoken to her besides her father or Tom). Amanda wishes to have both herself and Laura taken care of for the rest of their lives and she sees any prospective Gentleman Caller as the key to this: “Seen through the eyes of Amanda, Jim fundamentally is a potential husband for Laura. Just as he embodies Laura’s only hope for a future, he also is Amanda’s only hope for fulfilling one of her major duties as a mother.” (Presley, 1990, 44) Tom is vaguely interested in the prospect of a Gentleman Caller also, as he knows that if Laura was to be married Tom would have his mother’s blessing in leaving home forever. However, Tom is aware that Laura is very fragile and, as he doesn’t honestly feel the need for...
Bibliography: Arnott, Catherine M. Tennessee Williams on File. Metheun London Ltd., 1985
Hayley, Barbara. Abbey Theatre Programme, Production of ‘The Glass Menagerie’
Presley, Delma E. The Glass Menagerie; An American Memory. Twayne Publishers, Boston, 1990.
Williams, Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie. Penguin Books Ltd., Middlesex, 1962.
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