This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Symbolism, Imagery And Allegory In Cat On A Hot Tin Roof And A Streetcar Named Desire

2326 words - 9 pages

Symbolism, Imagery and Allegory in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire

 
Tennessee Williams said, in the foreword to Camino Real, "a symbol in a play has only one legitimate purpose, which is to say a thing more directly and simply and beautifully than it could be said in words." Symbolism is used, along with imagery and allegory to that effect in both Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire. Both plays tend to share the same kinds of symbols and motifs; sometimes they achieve the same meaning, sometimes not. It is possible that Williams' took elements from A Streetcar Named Desire to make Cat on a Hot Tin Roof a success. After the success of A Streetcar Named Desire, Williams' next 2 plays The Rose Tattoo and Camino Real didn't relive the success of their predecessor, therefore it is prudent to assume that Williams went back to his `winning formula'.

 

A prominent symbol in both plays is that of alcohol as an escape. In Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Brick's crutch is a symbol of his dependency on alcohol. Thomas Adler states, "The injured leg is clearly meant to symbolize a loss of power; without the crutch he is dependent on others ... [however, he] depends on a different kind of crutch, drink, to see him through." (Adler p.149-150). I agree with Griffin when she states "Brick drinks to escape a truth he cannot face, that he caused his friend Skipper's death" (Griffin p.153). Brick takes his physical and metaphorical crutch to defend himself from his past, while at the same time reliving an idealised version of that past.

 

Brick would rather lean on his `crutch' than on Maggie, this is expressed in the play's dialogue:

MARGARET: Lean on me.

BRICK: No, just give me my crutch.

MARGARET: Lean on my shoulder.

BRICK: I don't want to lean on your shoulder, I want my crutch! [Italics Williams']

(Cat. P.27)

 

This dialogue is symbolic of Brick's decision to take an ideal past over an uncertain future. The `click' in Brick's head is his escape; it echoes the click of the phone when he hung up on Skipper. It means that he doesn't have to face the truth anymore just like he didn't with Skipper. The alcohol leads to the click and the click leads to escape. At the end of the play, Maggie removes both of Brick's crutches until he satisfies her physically in trying for a baby. This is symbolically forcing Brick to face the future before wallowing in the past.

 

In A Streetcar Named Desire, one of the first things Blanche does when arriving at Elysian Fields is "look around for some liquor" (Streetcar p.120), just as she looks for an escape from her own past. This symbolism puts new meaning in Blanche's line "[looking down at the glass, which shakes in her hand]: You're all I've got in the world, and your not glad to see me!" it leaves one wondering whether she is talking to Stella or to the liquor at this point.

 

Both Brick and...

Find Another Essay On Symbolism, Imagery and Allegory in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire

Treatment of Women in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Frankenstein, and Othello

1911 words - 8 pages When we consider the patriarchal societies presented in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams (1954), Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818) and Othello by William Shakespeare (1602), and attempt to draw conclusions between them, perhaps due to the two-hundred years passing amid the texts, the patriarchal society presented in Othello, one which values bravery and honour, as seen in act I scene II, by Othello ascribing Desdemona’s love of him

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

The play "cat on a hot tin roof" and the relationship between maggie, chip and brick

964 words - 4 pages century ago still exist today. The nature and the effects of pressure put on by society toward individuals to suppress homosexuality can be seen in Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" where the main character Brick, can not express his sexual preference due to the society he associates with."For Tennessee Williams, homosexuality was the site of manifold contradiction...his own identity was articulated in the tension between secrecy and

Report on Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

596 words - 2 pages Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 1) After reading the play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams, I have decided that I would have somewhat dull costumes and sets if I were to direct this piece. I would make them dull because I associate bright things with happiness, and this play in no way seemed happy to me. It seemed full of issues that some unfortunate people have to deal with everyday, so I would try to make it as real as possible. I

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams

1004 words - 5 pages with Maggie and Brick they differ in their social capabilities, sexual nature, how they face their problems, their jealousy, greediness, guilt and use of alcohol. Works Cited Williams, Tennessee. “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Connections: Literature for Composition. Q. Miller and J. Nash. Belmont: Wadsworth, 2008 843-858. Print.

"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" by Shannon Baxter

564 words - 2 pages to win back Bricks' love and ensure a portion of Big Daddy's estate for their future. Her early beginnings with poverty have her concerned for wealth. This proves true as she plays the ideal couple and uses the charade of pregnancy to win favor in the family. The only way that she is able to get Brick to go along with her plans is to hide all of his alcohol.Gooper and May have five children and an addition child on the way. Gooper feels that he

Williams' Use of Imagery and Symbolism in A Streetcar Named Desire

2023 words - 8 pages Williams' Use of Imagery and Symbolism in A Streetcar Named Desire Williams uses figurative language in his lengthy stage directions to convey to the reader a deeper, more intense picture than a description alone could express. In the opening stage direction Williams illustrates the area around Elysian Fields. He uses personification to describe "the warm breath of the brown river" (P1). I think this creates an

Tennessee Williams' Use of Imagery and Symbolism in A Streetcar Named Desire

1775 words - 7 pages Tennessee Williams' Use of Imagery and Symbolism in A Streetcar Named Desire Throughout the play symbolism is used to capture attention and to appeal to viewers' emotions. It is expressed through music, colour and imagery all of which help to heighten tension and reflect the atmosphere created by an impending force. The actions involved in the development of imagery and symbolism in the characters are, for example

Homosexual Theme in Tennessee William's Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

620 words - 2 pages characters, and homosexuality is depicted as a personal rather than social or political problem, despite the time period of this play. I think that Winchell is correct in all these thoughts, but what I want to know is what was Williams' approach, and that is never answered. In Cat On A Hot Tin Roof Williams goes out of his way to question whether a very close male friendship can be purely and completely innocent. Winchell discusses this idea

Domestic Realism in Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

1182 words - 5 pages Domestic Realism in Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Throughout the play of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" various members of the family are at loggerheads. However, this comes to a climax in this passage as Big Daddy's imminent death is confirmed and the question of the heir to the estate becomes an important issue. The Oxford Companion to American Literature describes the play as "depicting bitter, abnormal family

The Repression of Sexuality within Tennessee William's "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and Katherine Mansfield's "Bliss"

1937 words - 8 pages The Repression of Sexuality within "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and "Bliss"Modern western culture prides itself on progress and tolerance, and the sexual revolution is a clear and unavoidable reminder of this. In the media and in our lives, sexual expression, that a few decades ago would have been condemned, is becoming more mainstream. One cannot help but be bombarded by images of half-naked women and sexually provocative messages, yet homosexuality

Similar Essays

Comparing A Streetcar Named Desire And Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

1774 words - 7 pages Comparing A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof In the game of life man is given the options to bluff, raise, or fold. He is dealt a hand created by the consequences of his choices or by outside forces beyond his control. It is a never ending cycle: choices made create more choices. Using diverse, complex characters simmering with passion and often a contradiction within themselves, Tennessee Williams examines the link of past

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

1267 words - 6 pages While watching the movie and reading the play of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof many changes are made evident. In 1958, movie laws regulated what could be said and shown in movies. Because of this, there were many small changes, along with some large changes such as the story about skipper, the storm, and the cellar scene. These changes made a great difference between the movie and the play. There are many minor differences between the play and the

Exploring Pain In Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

1992 words - 8 pages Exploring Pain in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof       "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof," written by Tennessee Williams is a brilliant play about a dysfunctional family that is forces to deal with hidden deceptions and hypocrisy.  The issues that this play revolves around transcend time and region.   By 1955 Tennessee Williams was already a well known and respected playwright. Theatergoers, as well as critics, had enthusiastically anticipated the

Exploring Pain In Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

2060 words - 8 pages they had difficulty with the play's resolution. (Winchell, 711) ...critics and ordinary theatre-goers have not always known what to make of the play. Both the original and the Broadway versions of the third act leave questions unanswered and an uneasy sense that the answers suggested are willed and artificial. (Winchell, 711) The plot in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" centers on a Southern family, who gather together to celebrate the patriarch