The merger of Eros and Thanatos in A Streetcar Named Desire Death and desire have been linked closely together of all time since Freud identified Eros ( the inherent aptitude of life. love and gender ) and Thanatos ( the inherent aptitude of decease and devastation ) as two coinciding and conflicting thrusts within human being ( Cranwell ) . In Tennesse Williams’ play A Streetcar Named Desire ( 1947 ) these cardinal thrusts of Eros and Thanatos dominate the narrative from the beginning to the terminal. This becomes peculiarly clear through the narration of the supporter of the drama.
Blanche DuBois. to whom the inextricable nexus between desire and decease leads to tragedy. The presence of decease in A Streetcar Named Desire is established from the beginning with the gap debut to the street. where the undermentioned events are traveling to take topographic point: Elysian Fields. In Grecian mythology Elysian William claude dukenfields were the residence of the blessed in the hereafter ( Baym 2300 ) . and this small item gives a clear intimation that decease is a cardinal subject in the drama.
Soon after the exposure of Blanche’s travel form prior to her arrival quite exactly makes up the overall connexion of decease and desire in the narrative: “They told me to take a street-car named Desire. and so reassign to one called Cemeteries and sit six blocks and acquire off at – Elysian Fields” ( Baym 2301 ) This description works as a metaphor for the life of Blanche DuBois. in whose experience desire has ever led to devastation or decease. This becomes clear subsequently in the drama. when Blanche reveals to Mitch. that she as a immature adult female was married to a adult male. who killed himself as a effect of his out homosexualism. Besides another nexus between decease and gender from Blanche’s yesteryear is finally brought to visible radiation: In order to continue herself and the sisters’ hereditary Southern plantation. Belle Reve. Blanche has been selling sex. But her attempts were in vain ; she ended up losing every bit good the plantation as her self-respect. and when she was besides fired from her occupation as a high school instructor due to sexual dealingss with a 17 twelvemonth old pupil. she had nowhere else to travel than to her sister’s topographic point on Elysian Fields – the land of the dead.
These destructive sexual experiences have turned Blanche into a hysterical adult female. who invariably needs to take hot bathes in order to command her nervousnesss. Bing unable to confront her ruin Blanche builds up an semblance about her ain good. virtuous yesteryear. This escape is revealed in her battle to avoid bright visible radiations. which has resulted in Blanche covering the exposed visible radiation bulb in Stella and Stanley’s flat with a Chinese paper lantern and her refusing to travel on day of the months with Mitch in daytime. Merely in darkness she is able to film over the truth to herself and others. However. the turning away of visible radiation is at the same clip besides an obvious indicant of Blanche’s so called tragic defect in the narrative: Her amour propre. This becomes clear from in the reunion with her sister Stella: “Now. so. allow me look at you. But you don’t look at me. Stella. no. no. no. non till subsequently. non till I’ve bathed and rested! And turn that over-light off!
Turn that off! I won’t be looked at in this merciless blaze! ” ( Baym 2303 ) Blanche’s amour propre reflects a fright of aging and losing her beauty. which – based on her description of the deaths of her relations – may besides be linked to a cardinal fright of decease: “Funerals are reasonably compared to deceases. Funerals are quiet. but deceases – non ever. Sometimes their external respiration is gruff. and sometimes it rattles. and sometimes they even cry out to you. “Don’t allow me travel! ” ( Baym 2307 ) Quite paradoxically. bearing her destructive sexual yesteryear in head. Blanche seems to see desire and decease antonyms of each other: “Death – I used to sit here and she used to sit over at that place and decease was every bit near as you are ( … ) The antonym is desire. ” ( Baym 2350 ) In Blanche’s head populating out desire to its fullest has become the lone manner of get awaying decease – decease of herself. the plantation and the lifestyle she knows.
As she reveals to Mitch in the terminal of the drama. familiarities with aliens was all she seemed to be able to make full her empty bosom with after the decease of her immature hubby. Allan ( Baym 2349 ) . What Blanche evidently has non realized is that the unnatural. “messed up” relationship to her ain desire has made it destructive and thereby inextricably linked it to decease. Not until she hears the Mexican adult female selling “Flowers for the dead” . her semblance starts to “crumble and fade” ( Baym 2350 ) and bit by bit gets lacerate apart. First by Mitch. who tears off the paper lantern and exposes Blanche to the rough visible radiation of world. Then by Stanley who uncovers Blanche’s spotted past and reject her hopes of Mitch returning with roses or the millionaire Shep Huntleigh coming for her deliverance. because as he puts it “There isn’t a blasted thing but imaginativeness! ” ( Baym 2353 )
After being stripped of her life-affirming and vital semblances. Blanche can non make anything but stare ”blankly and mutely into the face of her executioner and sees in his countenance the subjective chance of her ain devastation. ” ( Crandell ) When Stanley eventually rapes Blanche out of pure animate being lecherousness. it shows how rough world has concurred Blanche’s dreams and semblances. The colza leads into Blanche’s concluding descent to insanity and religious decease ( Crandell ) . After that she necessarily loses all clasp of world and ends up being admitted to a psychiatric infirmary. The entire ruin of Blanche DuBois is in this manner predicted from her entryway in the narrative: Her desire is really a desire to suicide. to decease. Reading the drama from this position the rubric A Streetcar Named Desire might be typifying the tragic fate of Blanche DuBois: A adult female whose driving desire has rather literary “run her over” and left her gory and humiliated on the street of decease.
Crandell. George. ‘Beyond Pity and Fear: Echos of Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy in Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire and Other Plays’ . Southern Quarterly 48. 2 ( 2011 ) . Statsbiblioteket. dk. Web. 6 Nov. 2013
Cranwell. Caresse. ‘Thanatos-in-Eros: Evolutionary Ecology and Panentheism’ . Sophia – International Journal for Philosophy of Religion. Metaphysical Theology and Ethics ( 2010 ) . Statsbiblioteket. dk. Web. 6 Nov. 2013.
Williams. Tennesse. ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ . The Norton Anthology of American Literature. shorter eight edition. Gen. ed Nina Baym. USA: W. W. Norton & A ; Company. Inc. . 2013. 2300-2361. Print
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