“A Streetcar Named Desire” wrote American playwright Tennessee Williams in 1947, and for this play, he received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948. It opened on Broadway in the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on December 3, 1947, and closed on December 17, 1949. The Broadway production directed Elia Kazan and starred Marlon Brando, Jessica Tandy, Kim Hunter, and Karl Malden. The London production opened in 1949, Laurence Olivier directed it with Bonar Colleano, Vivien Leigh, and Renee Asherson.
Extensively considered a landmark theatrical production, A Streetcar Named Desire arrangements with a tradition conflict between two iconic temperaments, Blanche Dubois, an evaporation artifact of the Old South, and Stanley Kowalski, a increasing member of the developed, municipal working class.
The play describes Blanche Dubois, a disappearance but still-beautiful Southern belle whose pretensions to asset and culture only finely mask alcoholism and illusion of splendor. Her self-assurance is an illusion she presents to protect others (but most of all, herself) from her actuality, and an effort to create herself still attractive to new male suitors. Blanche arrives at the dwelling of her sister Stella Kowalski in the Faubourg Marigny of New Orleans, on Elysian Fields Avenue; the local transportation she takes to reach her destination there includes a streetcar route named "Desire”. The humid, urban atmosphere is an upset to Blanche's nerves. Stella welcomed Blanche with some anxiety, fears the response of her husband Stanley. As Blanche gives details that their inherited southern plantation, Belle Reve in Laurel, Mississippi, has been "lost" due to the "epic fornications" of their ancestors, her thin covering of self-possession begins to slide radically "Epic fornications" may be here interpreted as the wickedness of her ancestors, which in turn caused them financial fatalities. Blanche tells Stella that her manager permitted her to take break from her job as an English teacher because of her disturb nerves, when in fact; she has been fired for having an event with a 17-year-old student. This makes not to be the only seduction she has engaged in—and, along with other problems, has led her to run away Laurel. A concise marriage marred by the detection that her other half, Allan Grey, was having a homosexual affair and his following suicide has led Blanche to withdraw into a world in which fantasies and illusions combine flawlessly with actuality.
In contrast to both the self-effacing and deferential Stella and the pretentious refinement of Blanche, Stella's husband, Stanley Kowalski, is a force of nature: primal, rough-hewn, brutish, and sensual. He dominates Stella in every way and is physically and emotionally abusive. Stella tolerates his primal behaviour as this is part of what attracted her in the first place; their love and relationship are heavily based on powerful—even animalistic—sexual chemistry, something that Blanche finds impossible to understand.
The arrival of Blanche upsets her sister and brother-in-law's system of mutual dependence. Stella's concern for her sister's well-being emboldens Blanche to hold court in the Kowalski apartment, infuriating Stanley and leading to conflict in his relationship with his wife. Blanche and Stanley are on a collision course, and Stanley's friend and Blanche's would-be suitor Mitch, will be trampled in their path. Stanley discovers Blanche's past through a co-worker who travels to Laurel frequently. Moreover, he confronts her with the things she has been trying to put behind her; partly out of concern that her character flaws may be damaging to the lives of those in her new home, just as they were in Laurel, and partly out of a aversion for deceit in common. However, his attempts to "unmask" her are naturally unsurprisingly unkind and aggressive. Their last argument—Williams alludes to rape, but never states it directly—results in Blanche's nervous breakdown. Stanley has her perpetrated to a mental establishment, and in the closing moments, Blanche downright her signature line to the kindheartedly doctor who leads her away: "Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."
The recommendation to the streetcar called Desire—providing the atmosphere of New Orleans geography—is emblematic. Blanche not only has to travel on a streetcar course named "Desire" to arrive at Stella's home on "Elysian Fields" but her yearning acts as an unmanageable strength during the play—she can only suspend on as her desires lead her.
The Blanche character is thought to be based on Williams' sister Rose Williams, who struggled with her mental health, and became incapacitated after a lobotomy.
Illusion versus reality
A recurring theme that can be found in A Streetcar Named Desire is the reflection of the decayed agrarian South and a thriving, industrialized new America. Blanche is penniless and homeless; Stanley, the descendant of Polish immigrants and proud to be working class, is powerful and confident. There is constant conflict between reality and fantasy, actual and ideal. Blanche says, "I don't want realism, I want magic”. This recurring theme is read most strongly in Williams' characterization of Blanche Dubois and the physical tropes that she employs in her pursuit of what is magical and idealized: a paper lampshade with which she covers the harsh white light bulb in the living room; her chronically deceptive recounting of her last years in Belle Reve; the misleading letters she presumes to write to Shep Huntleigh; and a pronounced tendency toward excessive consumption of alcohol.