Stanley Kowolski: A Critical Breakdown

         Throughout the entire duration of this semester, our English 213 class has covered an immense plethora of novels and plays as well as their cinematic counterparts as thoroughly with as much scrutiny as possible. Many of these literary works of art are simply pure genius, and their film adaptations were often just as wonderful. While there are many intriguing and captivating characters that we have come across, there is only one that stands boldly out in my mind as being the most memorable. This character is, of course, Stanley Kowolski from Tennessee Williams' ingenious 1947 play, A Streetcar Named Desire, and I have oftentimes pondered about what it would be like to play his character.

         Granted, however, the fact that I am a woman would greatly take away from the character for certain obvious physical reasons and also because I could never even think of demeaning a woman, or any person for that matter, in the way that Stanley did to Blanche Dubois. In spite of that, there is just something about this brutish, barbaric man that intrigues me to the point of marveling over Williams' inherent literary mastery. I wonder also how I would convey all of Stanley's brutish, but extremely intelligent nature. Would I state piercingly at Blanche in the manner that Marlon Brando did at Vivien Leigh in Elia Kazan's 1951 film? Would I grin mischievously at her just as she realizes her impending danger? Yes, I believe I would. In fact, it is my opinion that Brando's stunning portrayal of Stanley was absolutely perfect because of his intensity, his immense familiarity with the play, as well as the fact that he was able converse with the author throughout the entire film.

         So, what exactly makes Stanley Kowalski tick? What is the root behind all of his actions? These are the questions I would ask myself in order to sufficiently portray Stanley. Stanley's speech must be raw and ungoverned, especially when he is around Blanche. His mannerisms should be rough and without languidness; and his eyes should be cold and threatening toward everyone in his anger, most importantly, Blanche. He must be king of his castle; but also he must be dependent on his wife, Stella, to stay with him. Above all else, Stanley must be bold, direct, and be constantly with an air of arrogance that follows him like a bad odor.

         In conclusion, Stanley Kowalski would be, if portrayed by myself, very like that of Marlon Brando. Brando's ruthlessness and barbaric contributions to this character truly embodied Stanley and set an unbelievable precedent that simply cannot be improve upon, especially not by myself.

Jami Anthony

Table of Contents