How Far Does Blanche Dubois Measure Up to the Status of Tragic Heroine?

Topics: Tragic hero, Hero, Meaning of life Pages: 3 (775 words) Published: January 21, 2013
How far does Blanche Dubois measure up to the status of tragic heroine?

Looking at the definition of hero, we see that in mythology and legend, a man, often of divine ancestry, who is endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his bold exploits, and favoured by the gods. A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life: soldiers and nurses who were heroes in an unpopular war. A person noted for special achievement in a particular field. The principal character in a novel, poem, or dramatic presentation.

Blanche Dubois can be seen as a tragic heroine within ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ on a number of occasions. In the opening scene of the play, Blanche is introduced as someone who seems to be very sensitive and in some ways innocent, we see this when Williams writes:

‘She is daintily dressed in a white suit...looking as if she were arriving at a summer tea or cocktail party.’

Both her sensitivity and appearance are an obvious contrast to not only Stanley, but his apartment also, where Blanche ironically chooses to stay. Within Streetcar, Blanche’s life is evidence of how a single, tragic event can, in effect, end someone's life. In Blanche’s case, this tragic event is her fall into complete incapability to cope with real life situations and failure to remove herself from the fantasy world she has created for herself. This can be seen as one of Blanche’s main tragic flaws, that is the error of a tragic hero that in time leads to the hero’s defeat, such as Macbeth's success to the throne, yet his actions that brought him there eventually causes his death.

In an effort to escape the misery of her life in Laurel, Blanche drinks heavily and has meaningless affairs. She needs alcohol to stop the polka music which symbolises Allan's death, from repeating in her head and to avoid the truth of her life. She gives herself to various strangers in an attempt to lose herself. She...
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