An analysis of the three main characters in Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire and the importance of survival to each.

Essay by Terha April 2005

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Tennessee Williams definitely created very interesting characters when he wrote A Streetcar Named Desire. The main characters oppose each other in style, in speech, in lifestyle and in culture, but one thing they all seem to have in common is an inexplicable void in their life, an unhappiness and a great sense of incompleteness. The four main characters see their survival as very important and throughout the play it is evident how they undermine each other to come out on top.

The most aggressive of the characters would be Stanley Kowalski. He is introduced as he throws a packet of raw meat at his wife. (Williams, 3) Right at the beginning he comes across as a rather unsophisticated man. He likes having power and wants to be in control of everything, even his wife, Stella. His one way of exercising his control over Stella is to beat her. Eunice says to him: "You can't beat on a woman an' then call 'er back! She wont come!.'

(Williams, 43) Stella, however, does return to him. Blanche tells Stella that Stanley "acts like an animal, has an animal's habits!' Williams, 54) This is a good way to describe him since he is very rough around the edges and does not posses an ounce of sophistication. He tries to undermine Stella's relationship with Blanche by trying to unravel the truth of Blanche's past, a past she is trying very hard to hide and forget. As soon as Blanche starts interfering with his relationship with Stella, Stanley stops at nothing to get her out of the house, he drives her to the verge of insanity without so much as a hit of pity for her.

Blanche gives us the impression of a moth eaten piece of fabric. She used to be a pretty...