© 2015 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

CHECK OUT SHMOOP'S FREE STUDY TOOLS: Essay Lab | Math Shack | Videos

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof


by Tennessee Williams

 Table of Contents

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Themes

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Themes


Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a play about the destructive, fatal power of lies, about how people lie in order to maintain societal harmony and to not disturb preconceived notions, and about the difficu...

Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

In Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, dreams are essential, and each character dreams differently. Some perceive money to be the carrot that they pursue. Others crave love and physical affection. Still others...

Visions of America

Through the presence of the African-American maids and field-hands and through the discussion of slavery, we are reminded of the horrors upon which the Pollitt household and, indeed, upon which muc...


Death is the reason why the family has come together. Death brings out the worst in the family. It gives renewed spirit and perspective to Big Daddy at first, but it also steals them from him and m...

Sexuality and Sexual Identity

We see Brick struggle with his sexual identity in a time when American society does not tolerate anything deviating from a heterosexual relationship.

Memory and the Past

In Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, we hear several characters retell the past, leaving us with several versions of a story. In this way, we see how memory is a creative process, and that the truth of a matt...

Drugs and Alcohol

Alcohol functions in this play as a means of numbing the pain of living with lies. Brick drinks incessantly in search of a "click" of peacefulness, and, in some ways, to usher himself closer to dea...


Wealth is a corrupting force in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Wealth is the only force capable of bringing the vultures, er the Pollitt family, together, and it the force that divides them as well. There...


The protagonists in Cat struggle against the stringent and nonporous definitions of gender employed by society. As each character works to successfully fulfill the role and expectations attributed...

Language and Communication

Lies may be perpetuated by an inability or unwillingness to communicate truths. Language then becomes a means of manipulating others, of making a show of following social codes, and of getting what...

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Noodle's College Search
Noodle's College Search