The play "A streetcar Named Desire" by the author Tennessee Williams is a portrait of the lower class society in the period after World War II. The play presents several issues from the era that their main issue deals with conflicts:
· In the play the reader experiences the conflict between men and women in a masculine society that is dominated by men and where men were the owner and the leaders of their household.
· As a consequence of that the play also deals with women dependence on men.
· The play brings the conflict between lower class and higher class and the frustration of the lower class over the differences between them.
· The reader confront with another mode of conflict: violence. In the play there are description of strong male violence toward women and abuse.
Stanley Kowalski, though he is not the main character of "A Streetcar Named Desire" is a common man who is simple, straight forward and brutally honest. He treats his wife with no respect, for him she does not deserve it because she is a woman. Her duties are to obey his commands and to tolerate his brutal and chauvinistic behavior. As a chauvinistic character if she disobeys him he will abuse her physically if he deems it necessary in order to "tame" her. He insincerely apologizes for it afterwards, and expects his wife to learn from her mistakes and to continue with her duties as though he did nothing wrong. During this time period, domestic violence is not uncommon and is widely accepted as a means in obtaining a desired behavior from one''s wife. Stanley is clearly aware of this.
The character of Stanley comes as the representation for the macho society in the U.S in the times after World War II. He represents the side of men in the conflict between the sexes in that time when men have the upper hand. Stanley, as said before, abuses his wife Stella, but Stella, as a typical beaten wife will never admit that she is being abused nor she will leave Stanley and run away from her bitter life with him. Stanley as a typical abuser will always feel remorse and guiltiness for his deeds but he will never stop. Stanley is probably unaware of it but he has a big fear that his wife Stella will leave him and his fears is being expressed as violence.
Stanley is also described as an impulsive person; after he beats Stella they will always make peace that will involve great passion and animal attraction. This relationship is totally a destructive relationship that will never lead to positive consequences. A very important issue about this relationship is the dependence of women in men in a chauvinistic society. In the play we cannot ignore the dominance of Stanley''s character; he is the only supporter of the house, a hard worker (a construction worker) and the person who is the landlord of his property.
The control and dominance Stanley has over Stella is also a factor that is good and essential for is masculine ego. Stella is fully dependent on him and that''s what makes him feel confident and in control- a representation of the power of the masculine over the feminine.
The play also brings a conflict between classes in America of that period. The encounter with Blanche creates a clash that represents the frustration of the lower class in America. Stanley despises Blanche, and throughout the play he treats her with hostility making any effort to hurt her and revealing her shameful past to the other characters and ruins her relationship with Mitch. These deeds are an expression of Stanley''s frustration and hurting Stella gives him the feeling of false victory of the lower class; these actions are dve and the peak of Stanley''s frustration ends in a brutal and violent rape of Blanche. This point actually is the point when Stanley destroys Blanche''s personality as an act of brutal frustration- a moment of a false victory. Stanley also feels a false victory when he is proud of being the "owner" of Stella, a women from a high class, and he is proud that he managed to bring her down from the high class to the lower, this, for no doubt, a big contribution to his puffed ego.
Another aspect about differences and conflict is the fact that Stanley was from a Polish origin but he is always expresses an outrage when being called a "Polack". He always claims that he is American that was born and raised in America, he is aware of his origin but he is not consider himself as a Polish man. Stanley is a symbol of the heterogeneous America and it seems that he managed to fit perfectly.
The reader finds the character of Stanley Kowalski a confusing character. On the one hand he can be seen as a positive character because he is a person with a high work morality that is loyal to his friends, but on the other hand he is chauvinistic and macho that abuses his wife and shows no remorse from his bad deeds toward Blanche. This can bring the reader to fear and anxiety for the newborn that has just came into this confusion.