Thesis: Dr. Faustus, and Streetcar Named Desire (Drama

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Dr. Faustus, and Streetcar Named Desire (Drama Analysis Research)

Considering the lives of Blanche and of Faustus, one can unsurprisingly assume that the plays A Streetcar Named Desire and Doctor Faustus are tragedies. The behavior displayed by both main characters eventually leads to their distress. In spite of the fact that the protagonists of the two plays would want things to return to normal, they are aware that there is nothing that they can do to better things. It is not only their past actions that have led to Blanche and Faustus being unable to regain their former glory, but it had also been their flawed character. The problem in Blanche's nature is that she constantly drives people away by lying and by being arrogant. Also, Faustus is destined to meet his doom because he is constantly inclined to attain a greater state of mind through any means that he comes across.

When writing tragic plays, both Tennessee Williams and Christopher Marlowe have concentrated on putting down issues relating to "one who is already defeated at the outset of the play's action, who struggles at best passionately but always futilely, and who is always too low in mankind's moral (if not occupational) hierarchy to manage any semblance of downfall, let alone a downfall with tragic impact." (Harold Bloom, 1988) Blanche and Faustus had had a great amount of potential throughout their lives, and, furthermore, they had also shown signs of wanting to better their existences. However, the decisions that they made at certain points in their lives has only added to them becoming even more miserable. The two characters share convictions that ultimately have them accepting their state of defeat.

Tennessee Williams most probably intended his play, A Streetcar Named Desire, to present the public with an example of how the conduct of people can have a serious effect on their lives and on the lives of those around them. The play presents the conflict between Blanche Dubois, a traditional girl from the south, and Stanley Kowalski, a man that is a product of urbanization. Kowalski is much like the Lucifer found in Marlowe's play, as they are both determined to dominate over those weaker than them and would stop at nothing from getting what they want from people. The two characters go through great efforts so as to have Blanche and Faustus reveal their weaknesses. Blanche and Faustus only yield in front of their antagonists because they seem to be either unaware or indifferent at the aftermath that their actions would have.

At her arrival in New Orleans, Blanche is the typical overconfident lady from the Old South. In spite of her pride, she has a weak personality, and, moreover, she is aware of the inconvenience. She left her hometown of Laurel, Mississippi because of the distress that he had come across back there. The woman has been subjected to various mishaps, one of which had been her husband committing suicide consequent to her finding out that he had also lead a homosexual life. Even with the fact that she had not consented with the man's activities, she felt that she had been mainly responsible for his desperate act. The loss of her husband had played a major role in her wanting to leave her home in favor of New Orleans.

People are generally accustomed to living according to their own principles as life goes by. Blanche's husband, Allan, attempted to keep his personal life secret from the real world, creating an illusion of what he had really been. Blanche is astonished to observe that her husband had hidden his homosexuality from her and foolishly reacts without thinking. Her performance leads to Allan committing suicide and to her wanting to abandon her past. She does not realize that her true love had gone, and, in attempt to recover from her agony she makes the mistake of falling for a 17-year-old from the school where she works. The authorities are quickly alerted and Blanche is left with no other choice than to leave the town of Laurel in shame.

Not only does Blanche hide the truth from her sister and her family, but she creates an illusion of herself by claiming that she her sole intention is to visit Stella, in order to help her with her life. The new lifestyle displayed by Blanche is proof that she simply wants to deny reality by generating a new, superior, image of her. Her actions have almost caused her to forget her real life, raising her poise and making her believe that she had been invulnerable to the dangers of society.

All across the play, the writer proves that the only ones that lead successful lives are those that have no feelings, and, "because the Blanche-like souls are so overwhelmingly outnumbered, Williams has little hope for us."(John Von Szelisk, 1971, pp 45) Williams presumably uses Blanche as an example of people being reluctant to go along with society and with its needs. However, even with the fact that Williams wants the character to be an example to others, he does not attempt to make a perfect human being out of Blanche. He attributes certain features to her, proving that she is not perfect, in spite of her apparently-innocent nature.

Normally, everyone has craved for a certain thing or person, and, some have even obtained them. Having feelings for something or for someone also brings along disadvantages, such as an increased vulnerability. Blanche had arrived in New Orleans through the route paradoxically named "Desire." It is obvious that Williams wanted the audience to believe that Blanche had been pushed to go to her sister's because of her longing for more than what life had had in store for her at the time.

Because of Blanche's behavior and because of her commitment to change little about her personality, she is an archetypal hero. The facts that she had been born in a wealthy family contributes to her appearing to have noble blood, thus being cultured.

While some might argue that Blanche's character had been the main reason for the harsh treatment that she had received in her life, it is most probably that her individuality had been shaped by the incidents that she had gone through. Blanche being unwilling to accept reality is not the Blanche formerly living happy with Allan, in Laurel. "This was a Blanche for whom liquor was both cause and effect." (Misha Berson, 2008) All seemed to be in vain for the woman, as her lies and her behavior only succeeded in making her feeling even more wretched. Because she does not want to accept her fate, continuously trying to be the Southern belle that she had once been, Blanche loses her perception of reality.

Stella feels that there is something wrong with her sister, and does not allow her to intervene in her relationship with Stanley. In response, Blanche continues to criticize her sister's living conditions, and cannot understand how Stella can live together with Stanley, whom she considers to be no more than being a primitive man.

All across his play, "Williams poises the human need for belief in human value and dignity against a brutal, naturalistic reality" (David Mermelstein, 1998) Blanche cannot process reality, and engulfs herself with illusions of her life being just as before, with nothing changed in it. In contrast, Stanley is the typical working man, who rejects the thought of people trying to deceive, and is ready to go through anything in order to achieve justice. It is plainly unavoidable for Stanley and Blanche not to have divergences, with the very standards of living that the two respect being incompatible.

Because of Blanche's behavior, Stanley is initially inclined to believe her, and, moreover, to make some false suppositions relating to her. This proves that Blanche's attempt to trick reality does not only affect her, as it also influences other characters from the play. As Blanche's mental sanity gets worse, her unreal world controls her in dreaming of the day when one of her former suitors, Shep Huntleigh, will come and provide financial assistance for her and Stella.

Blanche constantly believes that a knight in shining armor will appear and save her from her sorrow, and, at one point, she even considers Stanley's friend, Mitch, to be the answer to her problems. In a desperate attempt of achieving peace with herself, she attempts to confess to Mitch, providing evidence that she still had a sense of reality, and of the consequences of lying.

The rape scene had not been accidental, as Stanley would have not performed the crime if it had not been for Blanche's influence. The man had been pressured by Blanche's flirtatious nature and by her past when choosing to rape her. Blanche's fantasy world turns into dust when she is brutalized and raped by Stanley. Stanley himself does not understand why the woman hesitates and why she rejects his advances. While her flirting with him had clearly led him in believing… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Dr. Faustus, and Streetcar Named Desire (Drama."  Essaytown.com.  November 23, 2009.  Accessed July 17, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/dr-faustus-streetcar-named-desire/2003.