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Ethical Lessons In A Streetcar Named Desire By Tennessee Williams

1488 words - 6 pages

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams is a play about a woman named Blanche Dubois who is in misplaced circumstances. Her life is lived through fantasies, the remembrance of her lost husband and the resentment that she feels for her brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski. Various moral and ethical lessons arise in this play such as: Lying ultimately gets you nowhere, Abuse is never good, Treat people how you want to be treated, Stay true to yourself and Don’t judge a book by its cover.
A very important moral lesson that I gained from A Streetcar Named Desire is to always tell the truth. Telling lies ultimately got Blanche Dubois nowhere. She was lonelier than ever at the end of the play. She starts off lying intentionally. For example, she tells Stella at the beginning that the school superintendent, “suggested I take a leave of absence” from her job as a teacher (Williams 14). In reality, the principal fired her for having an affair with a student. It is suspected that she is lying and later our suspicions are confirmed. Even though a reason isn’t mentioned as to why she lies, it is probably to save herself grief from her sister or to possibly keep up her appearance. Towards the end, Blanche says she received a telegram from “an old admirer of mine... An old beau” who invited her to “A cruise of the Caribbean on a yacht” (Williams 152, 153). At this point, she even begins to believe her own lies. She has lied for so long to others and even to herself that she ultimately ends up believing them. When Tennessee Williams shows us through the sound of the polka music and the shadows on the wall what is going on in Blanche’s head, we are left to wonder if something is truly wrong. She even told Mitch that she didn’t lie in her heart, so at this point we know that something is up. She believed her lies so much that she truly believed everything she said about her age and her lady-like demeanor. She even tells Mitch that she doesn’t tell the truth, she tells what ought to be truth. So Blanche is aware that she is lying and continues to do it, which end the end causes grief for her.

Never abuse anyone is another moral and ethical lesson that I discovered in this play. Stanley is very abusive towards Stella. Stella forgives Stanley and she feels as if nothing is wrong with going back to an abusive man. During one of Stanley’s poker nights, he is so drunk that when he becomes mad, he charges after Stella. She makes excuses for this act by saying, “He didn’t know what he was doing… He was as good as a lamb when I came back and he’s really very, very ashamed of himself” (Williams 72). By Stella going back to Stanley every time he abuses her, she will never grow as a person. We learn that this is not the first time this kind of thing has happened when Eunice, their neighbor yells to Stanley, “I hope they do haul you in and turn the fire hose on you, same as the last time” (Williams 66). Stanley is also abusive towards Blanche when he rapes her....

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