The Theme of Domestic Violence in Sreetcar Named Desire

Essay by TheCraziestChickenHigh School, 11th gradeA, February 2005

download word file, 1 pages 3.0

Before The Women's Liberation Movement, domestic violence was seen as a forbidden subject. In the play Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams shows how society accepted had ignored it. One of the characters, Stanley Kowalski, even found it to be a positive and very sexual part of him and his wife, Stella's, relationship. Throughout the play, Williams shows that he believes that it is wrong. In Streetcar Named Desire, the forbidden subject of domestic violence is a major theme.

At the time that Streetcar was written, society ignored domestic violence. People knew that it happened, but they pretended that it wasn't important. "Ho, ho! There's nothing to be scared of. They're crazy about each other" (Act 1 Scene 3). In this quote, Mitch shows that either doesn't care that Stanley hits Stella, or he just doesn't think that it is significant enough to be a problem.

He basically believes that is doesn't matter, so he ignores it.

The character of Stanley sees violence as an erotic action. Stella, though she acts as if it doesn't bother her, does not. In Act 1 Scene 3, after Stanley hits Stella and then calls her back down, they have sex. It seems that hitting Stella is a turn-on for Stanley. He probably thinks of it as a positive act in their relationship.

Throughout the play Williams gives strong evidence that he abhors domestic violence. He also appears to believe that a woman that is abused should leave her husband. "When I found out that you'd been insane enough to come back in here after what happened - I started to rush in after you!" (Act 1 Scene 4) Blanche is telling Stella that she was weak by giving in to Stanley. Williams might consider women like Stella should...