What does William’s depiction of Blanche and Stanley’s lives say about desire? The playwright has managed to set the subject for this play by emphasizing desire by the means of putting the very word in the title of the this play, A Streetcar Named Desire. The protagonist and the antagonist both pursue desire but do so in different ways thus it leads them down separate paths. For Blanche, the protagonist, desire has been something that she has witnessed through out life, first learning about it by hearing of the ‘epic fornications’ of her ancestors and later by experiencing it herself after the death of her husband.
And Stanley, the antagonist, comes into contact with desire in his marriage. Due to her upbringing Blanche still believes herself to be a blue-blooded Lady and in doing so she compels herself to believe in a very stringent culture that places various restrictions on ones behavior. The culture that she adheres forbids cross-class relationships and considers sex to be an immoral and dirty act only to be done in private and at that with your husband/wife so in light of that desire is also demonized as an illicit emotion so Blanche feels she has to distance herself from both to be socially acceptable.
Yet she finds herself unable to forsake desire as the very natural, instinctual side of herself pushes her in pursuit of sexual gratification, consequently Blanche is caught between two sides of herself, which contributes to her deteriorating psyche. This divide between her morality and desire is what causes her to runaway to her sister’s home in hopes of chalking out a fresh start but her past escapades catch up to her and ultimately lead to her completely losing her grip on reality. Now in Stanley’s case we see that he, a working class man, is married to Blanche’s sister, Stella, who comes from the upper echelon of society.
Their union is only held together on the basis of desire and lust and when the haze of passion wears off, reality rears its ugly head, bringing forth their true issues that lead to often-violent altercations between them. Neither Blanche nor Stanley have managed to handle their desire properly, Blanche’s failure to do so lead to her complete destruction and Stanley’s turned him to his wife’s sister’s rapist, therefore in showing us such broken and twisted characters Williams has taught us not to blindly follow desire’s siren call, rather he seems to suggest that we do so only in moderation.