A Streetcar Named Desire: Stanley Kowalski

         In the Tennessee Williams 1947 play, A Streetcar Named Desire, and film adaptation in 1951 by Elia Kazan, Stanley Kowalski, (played by Marlon Brando in the film) is the violent, loud, stubborn husband of Stella Kowalski (played by Kim Hunter). Stanley has grown up with the idea that people must work hard for themselves, whereas Stella has grown up on a plantation, Belle Reve, where she had been more catered to most of her life. Stanley treats Stella very differently from the way in which most husbands treat their wives. Stanley loves Stella very much but has quite the temper from time to time.

         Stanley has a very controlling and non-patient personality. He believes his wife must be obedient to him, just as a child would be to his or her father. Throughout the play and film, Stanley proves that he can be a dishonest and very cold-hearted man; however, at times, especially after Stella and his fights, he can be softhearted and more loving.

         Stanley is not a good example of how a man should act or be in life. He often times is too dramatic, too short-tempered, and very ill mannered. He believes that all people are out for themselves, and only themselves. This belief could be the reason that he has problems with trust and can be short-tempered at times.

         Towards the end of both productions, the play and film, the readers and the audiences also discover Stanley has a deceiving side to him. This is shown in the scenes involving the rape of Stella's sister, Blanche DuBois (depicted by Vivien Leigh). Stanley seems as though he has no regrets in raping Blanche. He also denies his wrong actions of raping Blanche. Stanley seems to feel zero remorse when watching Blanche become mentally insane mainly because of the way he has treated her, especially raping her.

         In conclusion, Stanley Kowalski is an interesting character in the play and film, A Streetcar Named Desire. Even though there are times he can be loving, gentle and softhearted; more often than not he is a cold, hot-tempered man that believes in only looking out for himself.

Ashley Davis

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