Illusion and Mendacity Essay

Words: 1674
Pages: 7

Peter Tim Soriano
Mr. Chalmers
16 December 2013
Illusion and Mendacity In Tennessee Williams’ plays Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire, several characters suffer by lying and by being unaware of reality. Both plays demonstrate and signify the themes of illusion vs. reality and mendacity through past trauma, alcohol abuse, and through strained family and marital relationships. In Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Brick is an example to all of these factors through his past with his friend skipper, his abuse of alcohol, and the lack of love he shows for his wife, while in A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanche encounters similar problems as Brick with her past trauma and her alcohol problem. The two plays share many similarities
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In Brick’s case he uses alcohol. With Blanche, in various occasions in the play is seen drinking alcohol which indicates her personality of being troubled. Like Brick, she uses alcohol to escape from reality. Blanche’s alcohol issues are revealed as soon as she arrives at the Kowalski’s residence. When she asks Stella for the liquor, Stella offers to pour the drinks herself and asks Blanche what she wants to drink. Blanche replies saying, “Just water, baby, to chase it! Now don’t get worried, your sister hasn’t turned into a drunkard, she’s just all shaken up and hot and tired and dirty! You sit down, now, and explain this place to me! What are you doing in a place like this?” (19) Blanche attempts to keep her alcohol problem a secret as it threatens her reputation because it contrasts the image of women in the 1950’s. She tells Stella not to get worried about her alcohol drinking just to change the subject to avoid having Stella accuse her of her alcohol problem. Thus, both Blanche and Brick attempt to escape reality and into their own fantasies through the use of alcohol and mendacity. Both plays display many different themes like theme illusion vs. reality, theme of light, mendacity, drugs, homosexuality, and more. The theme of light is revealed when Blanche is in a room with Mitch and she says, “I can’t stand a naked light bulb, any more