Stanley the Beast

         In Tennessee Williams' 1947 book A Streetcar Named Desire, the characters are extremely physical. The most physical of all characters in the movie, directed by Elia Kazan in 1951, is Stanley Kowalski, played by the handsome Marlon Brando. Stanley is considered to be a brutal, domineering man with rough habits. The best relationship to illustrate Stanley's brutality is the one between him and his wife, Stella, played on stage and screen by Kim Hunter. Stanley treats Stella like an insubordinate man in most cases. He jerks her around and abuses her physically and mentally. He rarely listens to anything she has to say; and, if he does, he will just tell her to shut up and do something for him. Stanley only acts kindly to Stella when he wants something sexual from her. Stanley yells for Stella numerous times from the bottom of the steps when he realizes he has screwed up. Being the attached lover she is. Stella eventually goes sensually down stairs and gives in to his unnecessary needs.

         Near the end of the play and film the reader and viewer discover that Stanley has raped Blanche (Vivien Leigh). This should be considered the most brutal act during the play. Stanley does not want to let anyone destroy his marriage. When he finds out that Blanche is talking bad about him to Stella, he tries his best to overpower Blanche so that he can keep Stella. He does not show any sympathy toward Blanche's past and is constantly trying to find out the truth about it.

         He always wants to be in control. Rummaging through Blanche's rich clothes, throwing the radio, on which she has been playing music, out of the window, and breaking plates when he is insulted are all done to show that he is in charge. Stanley resembles some kind of an animal rather than a man. He is straightforward and honest; but ultimately those are not good traits for him to bestow upon his victims, mostly female. He tolerates nothing that does not please him. He is the man of the house and wants to be treated that way; especially by the women. Stanley's view of women is that they are lower than men are. Stanley is crude and vulgar and never a gentleman.

Lauren Cline

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