The Power Of Desire In Tennessee Williams A Streetcar Named Desire

Decent Essays
Throughout Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, Stella unsuccessfully attempts to gain basic recognition and respect from Stanley. The power dynamic between the two becomes heated when Blanche appears causing Stella to see her abusive relationship in a new light. Stella believed that she had certain inalienable powers in her relationship with Stanley, yet Blanche shows her that it is quite the contrary. When Blanche shows Stella that she is in an abusive relationship with Stanley, Stella soon shifts her fight for respect to a fight for a voice and recognition, but loses when Stanley sends Blanche to a mental hospital
Before Blanche becomes involved in Stella’s relationship, Stella wishes to achieve basic respect from Stanley. This
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Stella’s pure attraction to Stanley leads to the eventual outcome of not being able to escape the personality that comes along with the person that Stella fell in love with. Yet Stella also shows other shortcomings in her love for Stanley. It becomes clear very quickly that Stella is widely dependant on Stanley: “I can hardly stand it when [Stanley] is away for a night… When he is away for a week I nearly go wild… And when he comes back I cry of his lap like a baby… [She smiles to herself.]” (19). Stella’s dependance on Stanley creates an environment where Stella wound never be in an emotional state to leave him, even in their case of an abusive …show more content…
While Stanley has clearly always been aggressive with Stella, and even Blanche, it isn’t until Stella directly insults Stanley when Stanley begins to strip all remaining power from Stella in their relationship: “Your face and fingers are disgustingly greasy. Go and wash up then help me clear the table” (131). Stanley responds to these insults and orders furiously: “Don’t ever talk that way to me! ‘Pig―Polack―disgusting―vulgar―greasy!’―them kind of words have been on your tongue and your sister’s too much around here! … Remember what Huey Long said―‘every man is a king’!” (131). While before Stella believed that she had certain inalienable powers in her relationship with Stanley, he has just ripped all power, respect, and rights away from Stella and absorbed it for himself. Reminding Blanche and Stella that “every man is a king” (131) is not only an enforcement of the patriarchy, but it also shows that perhaps Stanley never thought any differently about the power dynamic in his relationship with Stella. The little power that Stella believed he had was just a preconceived notion and Stanley had always had all the power in his mind. This comes from claiming “I am the king around here, so don’t forget it” (131). Stanley does not say that he “will be” the king, he says “I am the king” (131). While this is a huge

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