LOVE: Delicate and Confusing

     Love is a very delicate and confusing thing. No one has ever successfully been able to give an all inclusive definition of what love is. Is love flowers and birds singing? Is it constant happiness and satisfaction? For Stella it was fierceness and passion; feelings so primitive and basic that they were confusing to a modern world.

     Tennessee Williams attempted to capture the tide of emotions between people, not only those in such an unusual relationship as Stanley and Stella, but for those around them as well, in his 1947 play, A Streetcar Named Desire. We witness the struggle of Blanche trying to cope with her unusual desires, sordid past, and deteriorating mental health; a struggle which becomes even more prominent as she is faced with Stella's happiness in the midst of such squalor. We watch as Stella gropes for an answer to who is right, Blanche or Stanley, and who can provide her with the most happiness? We witness Stanley's attempts at control over his house and his feelings. The churning of all these emotions in one house is a time bomb set to go off.

     In the play we can sense the tension between these characters. The 1951 movie, directed by Elia Kazan, shows us the more subtle side of this tension; the way Stanley (Marlon Brando) would taunt Blanche (Vivien Leigh) and rile her with his gutter mouth, the manner in which Blanche would flaunt her upbringing to the members of Stanley's little group, the internal tension for Stella (Kim Hunter), who could not bring herself to choose. All of this various pushing and pulling of emotions and feelings created an atmosphere that was difficult on any who happened into the vicinity. Blanche, with her unstable and fragile mind, was the most obvious one to crack under the pressure.

     We think of the tension and stress a couple going through a divorce faces and the way that affects those around them; that is an easy situation to picture. It is rather odd though to consider the tension a "visiting" sister would cause a marriage. These characters were all too strong-willed and determined in regard to their own desires to make living together in such confined quarters work.

Melissa Stacy

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