English IV Honors
17 January 2012
A Streetcar Named Desire: Stanley Kowalski
In the play A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, an insensitive and cruel character named Stanley Kowalski is depicted. His juxtaposition to Stella Kowalski, his mild mannered and sensitive wife, accentuates his character flaws making them even more prominent and dramatic throughout the play. Through Stanley’s conflicts with Blanche DuBois and his rapist-like sexual advances, Stanley becomes the perfect villainous character, enabling the reader to sympathize with Stella and Blanche. With the violent scenes and the highly sexual content, Stanley is the center of all climactic events in A Streetcar Named Desire. Stanley’s aggressive nature even goes so far as domestic violence, where he savagely beats Stella and verbally abuses her on a regular basis. This is evident in many scenes. Just the presence of Stanley is enough to create fear and uneasiness for the people that surround him. Throughout the play A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams depicts Stanley Kowalski as a villain-like character with a mean streak and vicious personality which creates an uneasy environment due to his pugnacious lifestyle and insensitive demeanor.
“The stage directions say that sex is the center of Stanley’s life. Being sexually attractive assures Stanley’s delusional rapist mind that his sexual advances are being welcomed” (Nagel 10). Stanley’s delusional mind makes him believe that his sexual brutality is respected and is a naturally accepted thing. Throughout the play, Stanley’s character is followed by sexual connotations and innuendos. A very vivid illustration of this starts at the very beginning of the play where “The vigorous physicality and the echo of his primitive nature, combined with the coarse sexual innuendo of his package of meat suggest passion close to the surface and introduce the audience to Stanley’s inner character” (Nagel 10). The...
Cited: Nagel, James. “Critical Essays on Tennessee Williams.” Ed. Robert A. Martin. First Edition. New York, New York: G.K. Halland Co., 1997
Williams, Tennessee. “A Streetcar Named Desire.” New York, New York: New American Library, 1951. Pages 13-142.
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