There are many topics for discussion throughout Tennessee Williams’s “A Streetcar Named Desire”. We could discuss Blanche’s artificial personality, or how Stella is portrayed but what I would like to focus on is Stanley. What all does Stanley’s character represents? I believe that Stanley is a key to further exploring each character. His antics throughout the play shows the true hold he has over Stella, the way he doubts Blanche helps to shed light on her overall character, and the interaction he has with his friends shows us his true character. I know I’m leading this on as if Stanley is “good” or something, no, I thought he was a horrible person but great for the development of Blanche and Stella’s characters.
At the time of this play, society was a heavy patriarchal society. Men were always right, women were supposed to depend on their men and as Stanley said, “I am the king around here” (Williams 107). In that society men desired all the control, they made sure that they whoever they were with depended on them for their needs. If a man is the breadwinner, is he the king of the house? If a man is attractive, should women (Stella) succumb to the physical desire and ignore all the negatives? I believe that Williams is pointing out a lot of the problems in the time period through Stanley’s actions. Stanley has a childish masculinity to him. I think he views Stella as a possession of his and when a child gets that possession taken away, they throw tantrums. Stanley yells, he throws things, he hits Stella, and he makes sure he always gets his way. All the things that Stanley does is a social norm at that time, they were able to do and say whatever they want and what Stanley wants is Stella. I also believe Stanley fears Blanche as most men of that society would because she cannot be controlled by him. The hold he had over Stella was irrelevant with Blanche and I think that bothered him.
The reason that I believe Stanley’s character is essential to the growth of Blanche and Stella because his actions help show their true feelings. The way he mistreats Blanche helps Stella break out and sort of show that she was sick of his actions. His constant disapproval or lack of trust in Blanche eventually helped shed light to her past and helped readers to get a better story of why Blanche is the way she is. I believe throughout this play Stanley is a direct representation of what Williams doesn’t like about the society. “Tennessee Williams nicely presents the stereotypical spousal roles of the husband and wife” and Stanley was the epitome of that stereotype. Besides the fact that Stanley represented the heavy patriarchal society what else could he represent?