Glass Menagerie

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade August 2001

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Williams' Masterful Use of Monologue and Dialogue to Define Characters and Punctuate Plot and Theme in the First Scene of The Glass Menagerie From Tom's opening monologue in The Glass Menagerie to Laura's apologetic admission of her mother's fear at the end of the first scene, Williams creates a masterful opening scene that clearly defines each character and sets up the plot and theme of the play through his use of Tom's introductory monologue and the exchange of dialogue between Tom, Amanda, and Laura at the dinner table. It is a well-crafted first scene that provides the audience with an understanding of the plot and the theme through Tom's characterizations and observations that present the audience with significant information about the characters and conflict that exists in the Wingfield household. Lastly, the dialogue exchanged between the main characters completes the characterizations and outlines the plot, theme, and conflict that will unfold throughout the play.

Williams opens the play by having Tom introduce himself as the narrator though a monologue and reveal the premise of the play. Having Tom begin the play dressed in his merchant marine uniform and speaking directly to the audience sets him up as the conduit of information between the other characters and the audience and creates the proper distance between himself as narrator and the other characters in the play. It is a wise strategy that defines Tom as an authority because he plays a number of different roles throughout the play. Tom is multi-dimensional, and his role is threefold: Tom is 1) the narrator; 2) a character in the play; and 3) a member of the audience. As the narrator, Tom immediately provides his own characterization: Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of...