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Dramatic Devices In Williams' Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

1013 words - 4 pages

Dramatic Devices in Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

"Williams instinctively understands the loneliness of a human being -
his or her constant and desperate attempt that is to escape the
reality that is there loneliness and their subsequent failure to do
so". Williams portrays this loneliness to an audience through the
spatial distances on stage between characters, which is suggested in
the stage direction. "Margaret is alone". It is also emphasised
through symbolism and the dialogue between characters. Big Mama
accuses Margaret of not satisfying Brick in bed and of Brick's break
down. After this accusation, "Margaret is alone, completely alone". By
repeating this stage direction Williams is emphasising that it is
imperative that Maggie should be alone. This signifies her isolation
within her marriage. Both Maggie and Brick are isolated from each
other within their marriage. Maggie is, because she is "childless" and
Brick is, because he drinks and the reason for his drinking drives him
to this isolation. Williams uses a lot of symbolism to illustrate this
solitary confinement. Brick has a crutch for his ankle; this
represents his physical need for a crutch and demonstrates how he uses
it for support. This is also reflected in his drinking; Brick uses
alcohol as a mental crutch for support. When Maggie is pushing Brick
with the truth of what has happened between himself and Skipper "Brick
is without his crutch". This signifies that he has no support and is
unbalanced. Previously, Brick has been very detached, cold and always
in control. He always had his crutch, without he becomes emotionally
vulnerable even to the point of threatening Maggie, "Maggie, you want
me to hit you with this crutch?"

Maggie's mental crutch is her sexuality, "Look Brick…How high my body
stays on me!" This is exactly what Brick is continuously rejecting. It
is also why she oscillates between convincing Brick of her sexuality
and her obsession with children. "I've borne no children", "I'm
childless", "you can't have babies", "they gloat over us being
childless". This obsession makes her very insecure. When Big Mama
starts questioning, "D'you make Brick happy in bed?" She is observing
that Maggie's sexuality isn't enough, therefore this breaks Maggie's
crutch and leaves her "completely alone" and isolated.

As a defence mechanism, Maggie creates another personality for
herself, "I am Maggie the cat!" Williams uses this animal as it has
many connotations. A cat has connotations of being a fighter and a
survivor and also of being a solitary animal. Maggie has all of these
...

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