DO NOT USE THIS PAPER — ESPECIALLY IF YOU ATTEND THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE – KNOXVILLE AND HAVE DR. MARILYN HARDWIG AS YOUR PROFESSOR!! THANKS – ASHLEY
In the play, A Streetcar Named Desire, author Tennessee Williams does a wonderful job developing the character of Stanley Kowalski. To me, his character
seemed most like that of a true person. On the other hand, Stella, Stanleys wife, is mainly displayed as being the loving type, and because that is basically the only character trait she displays, it is difficult to really understand her as a person. The character of Stanley Kowalski is developed much like a real person, having numerous personality traits. One characteristic of Stanley is his rudeness and cruelty towards Blanche, Stellas sister. It is very apparent that Stanley does not care for Blanche. Scene eight mentions Blanches birthday party, and surprisingly, she receives a gift from Stanley. This gift, however, is not one that most people would appreciate. Blanche is very surprised to get a gift from Stanley, and as she opens it she says, Why,why-Why, its a- (Williams 111). This is the first indication that there is something the matter. Because Blanche cant finish her sentence, Stanley lets
everyone know that its a Ticket! Back to Laurel! On the Greyhound! Tuesday! (Williams 111). Blanche obviously couldnt finish her sentence because she was insulted that her birthday present implied that she was not welcome by Stanley. Even Stella knew how rude and cruel Stanley had acted towards Blanche. Stella lets Stanley know, You neednt have been so cruel… (Williams 111). In scene ten, Stanley says to Blanche, Take a look at yourself in that worn-out
Mardi Gras outfit, rented for fifty cents from some rag-picker! And with the crazy crown on! What queen do you think you are? (Williams 127). This quote shows that Blanches physical appearance has also been insulted and put down by Stanley. Although Stanley may not like Blanche, and may be cruel toward her, he
still has a very loving and caring side. A very apparent character trait of Stanley is his love for his wife, Stella. In scene two, Stella and Stanley notice all the very nice things that Blanche has in her
trunk. For Blanche being a poor girl, Stanley knows that she shouldnt have so many nice things. Stanley expresses his concern to Stella as he says, It looks like you have been swindled, baby… (Williams 35). This shows that Stanley only wants for Stella what she deserves, and if Blanche is not sharing what money is
also Stellas, then it upsets him. Normand Berlin, author of Complementarity in A Streetcar Named Desire also agrees that Stanley is much in love for Stella. He states that Stanley, himself a garish sun, claims Stella, the star (100). As much as Stanley loves and cares for Stella, he has a tendency to act the other way, not so loving. The aggressiveness of Stanley is probably his most evident character trait expressed through out the play. One might not think that a simple game of poker with the boys could turn so violent when a couple women walk in the room. Stanleys poker game must be very important to him in order for him to lose complete control and get physical with Stella. At the start of his outrage, the other men playing poker try to calm him down, Take it easy, Stanley. Easy fellow (Williams 57). However, Stanley does not listen, and instead causes Stella to threaten Stanley as her own defense, by saying, You lay your hands on me and Ill- (Williams 57). Stanleys anger is now out of control. While no one can see what is going on with Stanley and Stella, the stage direction mentions There is the sound of a blow. Stella cries out (Williams 57). Stanley is not only aggressive with Stella, but Blanche as well. In scene ten, Stanley and Blanche get into a quarrel. Blanche breaks a bottle and threatens Stanley by saying, So I
could twist the broken end in your face! (Williams 130). Stanleys strength is much more than that of Blanche, and therefore was able to grab her wrist and
cause her to drop the bottle. As all of this is going on, Stanley says, Oh! So you want some rough-house! All right, lets have some rough-house! (Williams 130). This evidence points directly toward the fact that Stanley is a very aggressive person. Through out the play, Tennessee Williams does a great job keeping the reader questioning the character of Stanley Kowalski. As a whole character, Stanley cannot be described with one character trait. In A Theater Divided: The Postwar American Stage, Martin Gottfried also shares that Stanley has many character traits. Gottfried states, He is brutal and stupid, operating almost entirely on animal reflex, but his vitality is the energy of life and his love for Stella is absolute and real (252). He is, in my mind, the most developed character to represent a real person.
Berlin, Normand. Complementarity in A Streetcar Named Desire. Tennessee
Williams: A Tribute. Ed. Jac Tharpe. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 1997. 97-103.
Gottfried, Martin. A Theater Divided: The Postwar American Stage. Boston:
Little, Brown, 1967.
Williams, Tennessee. A Streetcar Named Desire. New York: First Signet