Essay on How Does Williams Present the Themes of Illusion and Fantasy in a Streetcar Named Desire?

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How does Williams present the themes of illusion and fantasy in A Streetcar Named Desire?

The theme of reality vs. fantasy is one that the play centres around. Blanche dwells in illusion; fantasy is her primary means of self-defence, both against outside threats and against her own demons. Throughout the play, Blanche's dependence on illusion is contrasted with Stanley's steadfast realism, and in the end it is Stanley and his worldview that win. To survive, Stella must also resort to a kind of illusion, forcing herself to believe that Blanche's accusations against Stanley are false so that she can continue living with her husband.

One of the main ways Williams dramatises fantasy’s inability to overcome reality is through an
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I don't tell truth, I tell what ought to be truth...Don't turn the light on!' This intense, frightening scene reveals to the audience the way Blanche views the world. Tennessee Williams' use of this kind of dual view of the world to develop Blanche's character is a perfect example of the way A Streetcar Named Desire makes the audience react to the characters in the play.

The use of light and dark links to the key theme of fantasy and reality. The light is the truth, and this is what Blanche always tries to cover up. Stanley wants the truth so rips away any protection Blanche hides behind, for example the paper lantern over the naked bulb. The Streetcar light that always shines through the window, is trying to uncover the truth so Blanche hides away whenever it drives by, ‘A locomotive is heard approaching outside. She claps her hands to her ears and crouches over.’

In conclusion, the reader of A Streetcar Named Desire is not only entertained by an interesting story when they read the play. They are also thrust into a reality which is not their own, yet somehow seems familiar. This realistic fantasy Williams creates with his brilliant use of symbolism, intriguing characters, and involving action in the play causes the reader to connect fully with the setting, characters, conflicts, and emotions within