Stanley: A Character Analysis

         The character of Stanley in Tennessee Williams' 1947 A Streetcar Named Desire, filmed in 1951 by Elia Kazan, had only one saving grace. This man was obviously a man's man with his friends. He was also the kind of "guy" any woman would be attracted to, if she were to look at only him and nothing else. Stanley did not have a whole lot to offer other than a nice body to look at on the off chance his tight-fitting shirt was missing in action. Therefore the award goes to the young Marlon Brando's body.

         Stanley was not the most intelligent of men by any means. In fact if I were to be brutally honest, I might have to go so far as to say that he was downright ignorant. This man did not seem to have even one intelligent thought throughout the whole story.

         I would like to be able to say more about Marlon Brando's presentation of his characters' intelligence, but he left me wondering what he was saying the majority of the time. I am unsure if I would have even known what was going on with Stanley if it were not for the screenplay. Brando's mumbling and moaning left me retracing in my head what was going on the vast majority of the time. However, I soon came to the understanding that Brando was able to present on screen what the play itself had already told me about Stanley's head and what it was filled with; nothing.

         As if his brainless rambling lings were not enough to endure, Brando's Stanley was rude and inconsiderate to top it off. He seemed to care more about himself and his own wants than he cared to even consider others. He was harsh towards Vivien Leigh's Blanche from the very beginning until the very end. Kim Hunter's Stella, Stanley's own wife and love, did not receive much more compassion than anyone else.

         Stanley's rude actions and words, as projected by Brando, were the perfect combination with his violent behavior towards everyone around him. His buddies would come over to play cards and drink, which would only make his behavior worse as time went on throughout the evening. He would yell and fight with them; and, when that did not seem to be enough, he would turn his violence towards the women.

         Stella and Blanche both had to endure the horrid screaming and slamming. If there were one thing that Brando's Stanley was extremely good at it would be smashing things. He would smash whatever was available at the time and regardless of who might possibly be in the way. He was no doubt a man that would get his aggression out in one form or another, with absolutely no regard for anyone else.

         His destruction was not limited to physical objects either. He was capable of destroying and devastating the lives of those who were to come into contact with him. Blanche was unfortunate enough to experience her own tragedy through the hands of Stanley. Stella was somehow able to standby knowing that her own sister was raped by her "loving husband" Stanley. She herself had experienced the downward spiral that Stanley had created in her own life, yet it was still something that she was unable to escape.

         Looking back, however, I have to wonder who it was that lacked any kind of definite intelligence the most. Was it Stanley, the Brando beast, or Stella, the Hunter, girl who loved this monster who could offer her nothing more than a warm and handsome body to cling to after a fight.

Kimberly Ritch

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