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A Streetcar Named Desire

Let's review the play, scene-by-scene.

Dr. Carolyn

on 30 November 2014

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Transcript of A Streetcar Named Desire

Scene-by-Scene Review
A Streetcar Named Desire,
by Tennessee Williams

Blanche DuBois arrives at the home
of her sister, Stella Kowalski,
at Elysian Fields in New Orleans.
Stanley's harsh language to
Blanche accompanies his
revelation that he has met a man named Shaw, who knows
Blanche from a disreputable hotel.
The play immediately establishes tensions
around Blanche and her brother-in-law, Stanley,
who are opposites. Stanley is described in stage directions as a volatile man whose gets his greatest life pleasure out of women.
Blanche's good manners represent the gentility of the Old South, and Stanley's strength and power represent the economic drive of the New South.
When Stella mentions that Blanche has lost
Belle Reve, Stanley immediately assumes
that Blanche's emotional fraility is a lie
designed to hide theft.
This scene establishes Stanley as a villian
who mistreats all the women in his life. Stella
returns to her abusive husband, preferring their
sexual relationship over personal security.
After a drunken poker party, Stanley
attacks Stella. She escapes, only to return
after Stanley begs her, yelling, "Stelllllaaa!"
Stella's acceptance of Stanley establishes her attraction to violence and sexuality. Blanche admits to Stella that she is completely broke and that she needs men like Shep Huntleigh to survive.
Scene One
Scene Two
Scene Three
Blanche's speech about the evolution of humankind reminds Stella and the audience that we have moved well beyond beastiality. But because Stanley represents the progress and grit that makes the U.S. successful, Williams points to Blanche and the Old South strictly as remnants of a past that might best be forgotten.
Scene Four
Blanche is torn between her desire to have stability and a good reputation with Mitch and her primal desire for intimacy, as represented by her advances toward the newspaper boy .
Scene Five
Blanche reveals to Mitch her first love in terms of a shadowy world that became filled with blinding light. Mitch reaches out to Blanche with
shared lonliness.
When Blanche admits her greatest life mistake was making comments about being disgusted with her husband's homosexuality, which led to his suicide, she opens up honestly, if partially. Her lack of full
disclosure, however, foreshadows that their
relationship will never be healthy.
Stanley reveals everything about Blanche's past, including her affair with a 17-year-old student and her firing. He includes that he understands that Blanche is now mentally
fragile and probably unstable.
Blanche's constant bathing symbolizes her need
to cleanse herself of her past. She sings "It's Only
a Paper Moon" as she refuses to accept reality.
Scene Seven
Scene eight
Mitch doesn't attend Blanche's birthday party after Stanley tells him about Blanche's past.
Blanche no longer attempts to be gentile and proper with Stanley, and he wants her out of his house. Stella tries to persuade Stanley not to be so cruel to Blanche, not realizing that she and Blanche are, really, very much alike.
Scene nine
When Mitch visits, he is breaking off his relationship with Blanche. He is more sorry for the lost love than he is angry.
When Mitch turns on the light, he is exposing Blanche's false exterior. Blanche is now alone to confront the harsh reality of her life.
Scene ten
While Stella is at the hospital having the baby, Blanche finds herself alone in the apartment with Stanley, who frightens her with his sinister behavior.
Stanley rapes Blanche when he should be celebrating the birth of his child. The images of prostitution, drunkedness, and robbery in the background represent cruel real life. Blanche's fantasy life is more desirable than her utter defeat.
Scene Eleven
Stanley has destroyed whatever connection to reality Blanche may have had. She awaits the arrival of Shep Huntleigh, a vision of her imagination. Stella cannot bring herself to accept Blanche's version of the rape.
Stella and Stanley's marriage is revealed to be another illusion. When Blanche utters "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers" as she is being removed to an insane asylum, she expresses the vulnerability and isolation of women who must rely on men for their identity and security.
The end
Scene Six
Full transcript