Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
by Tennessee Williams
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Drugs and Alcohol Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Page.Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue. We used the New Directions edition of the play, published in 1971.
- I'd better sit by myself till I hear that click in my head, it's just a mechanical thing but it don't happen except when I'm alone or talking to no one…. (II.99.824-826)
Brick describes his click of peacefulness as "just a mechanical thing," showing us that he knows this peacefulness to be fake and temporary. He must withdraw from the world in order to hear it, because being around others will only remind him further of the lies from which he's running.
If I give you a drink, will you tell me what it is you're disgusted with, Brick? (II.106.958-959)
Alcohol becomes a kind of currency in the play. Both Maggie and Big Daddy want something specific from Brick, and the only way to secure what they want is to take control of the thing he desires most of all. In this way, alcohol is a tool of power.
Is liquor the only thing that'll kill disgust?
But not once, huh?
Not when I was still young an' believing. A drinking man's someone who wants to forget he isn't still young an' believing. (II.112..1082-1086)
Brick hasn't always needed to drink. He drinks now to quell the realization that he is no longer the beloved football hero. He drinks because he's lost his belief in life. It seems like the only things that the characters in Cat believe in are everlasting life and wealth. Once Brick sees he's lost the qualities that once formed the core of his identity, he no longer has a steady foundation to rest upon should he kill the mendacity in his life. Brick's identity was and is so dependent upon what others believe him to be; this is the cause of his drinking.