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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

  

by Tennessee Williams

 Table of Contents

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Sexuality and Sexual Identity 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.

Quote #1

Stage Direction
[…] it is gently and poetically haunted by a relationship that must have involved a tenderness which was uncommon. Notes.15.15-17

The words 'homosexuality' and 'gay' never appear in this play. The only term used is 'queer.' Williams does not even explicitly state that Ochello and Straw were lovers. He merely describes their relationship as "a tenderness which was uncommon." In this way, Williams is perhaps simultaneously aware of the societal disgust for homosexuality, and is also perhaps honoring Brick's wish to characterize his love with Skipper as clean, by focusing on the true love and friendship at its core and not solely upon the implied sexuality.

Quote #2

BRICK
One man has one great good true thing in his life. One great good thing which is true!—I had a friendship with Skipper.—You are naming it dirty! (I.982-985)

Here, Brick reacts to the sexual implications behind Maggie's discussion of his relationship with Skipper. Brick equates sex and homosexuality with dirtiness and disgust. When presented with Maggie's own sexual advances, Brick is cool, detached, and asexual.

Quote #3

MARGARET
You two had something that had to be kept on ice, yes, incorruptible, yes! (I.58.991-992)

Maggie both draws attention to the sexual nature of Brick and Skipper's relationship, but she also highlights its true and "incorruptible," nature. In this way, Maggie is naming the relationship, making it a reality by speaking about it. She wants Brick to acknowledge the relationship rather than mull over it internally. She also recognizes that, though it needs to be recognized, the relationship "ha[s] to be kept on ice," kept secret from society. She recognizes the fact that it can never fully be extolled.

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