How Does Stanley Use Sexual Advances In A Streetcar Named Desire

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In a Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams, Stella and Stanley use sexual advances in their own unique ways to gain dominance and power. The way they use these advances relate to their different identities. Whenever Stella steps out of line and Stanley hits her, Stella uses sex to woo Stanley and to show that she’s a strong woman who’s capable. Stanley, on the other hand, uses sexual advances to assert his dominance in order to maintain his role as the alpha male. Stella wants to show that she is a woman of strong character. In the beginning of the play, Stanley is walking to his house with a bag of meat from the butcher’s. After yelling for Stella, Stella replies saying “don’t holler at me like that” to present herself as a woman …show more content…
After Stanley beats Stella, he goes after her, sobbing, and asking for forgiveness. While yelling for Stella, she finally opens the door upstairs and stares down at Stanley who is at the bottom of the staircase. At this moment, Stella is at a higher position than Stanley. She then proceeds to walk down the staircase in a slow, sexual like manner, and once she near Stanley he falls to his knees on the steps and presses his face to her belly (67). The significance of Stanley falling to his knees is that he is overcome by a great power, who in this case is Stella. He is lowering himself both physically and symbolically, and by doing so he is showing Stella a great amount of respect and reverence. This is what Stella wants: having control. In this scene, Stella is in control because when it comes to sex, Stanley has no say over it. Stella uses this to her advantage to obtain a moment of power and to show Stanley that she is in fact a woman of strong character who has a role in the relationship once it comes to sex. But what this says about their relationship is that when they fight, sex is the only thing that helps them make amends with each …show more content…
Stanley uses physical force when making sexual advances to assert his dominance. “What do you two think you are a pair of queens? Remember what Huey Long said- “Every Man is a King!” And I am the king here, so don’t forget it!” (131). But in order to maintain his role as the king, Stanley needs to do something which Blanche, who is threatening his role and interfering with his and Stella’s sex-based marriage. “God, honey, it’s gonna be sweet when we can make noise in the night they way that we used to and get the colored lights going with nobody’s sister behind the curtain to hear us” (133). Stanley wants Blanche out because she is interfering with their sex-based marriage, and without sex, their marriage will suffer. Stanley accomplishes this by raping and breaking Blanche to the point where Stella calls a mental institution to pick up Blanche and take her away. With Blanche becoming mentally unstable each day, Stanley sees the opportunity to get rid of her and he rapes Blanche when they were alone in the house. Blanche’s rape is what breaks her and is the reason why Stella sends her to a mental institution. Although Blanche tells Stella that Stanley rapes her, she refuses to believe her and thinks she’s gone completely mad. When Blanche leaves with the doctor, Stella feels uncertain whether she did the right thing by sending her away, but Stanley ends up comforting her and calling her love (179).

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