Study Guide

A Streetcar Named Desire Mortality

By Tennessee Williams

Mortality

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Death features prominently in A Streetcar Named Desire, and is very much connected to lust. Sex seems to be responsible for much of the death—literal and figurative—that we see in the play.

Oddly enough, characters also turn to sex to comfort themselves in times of loss, which only leads to… more destruction. Death comes in all varieties in this play: the loss of reputation, sanity, physical well-being, relationships, and youth.

Questions About Mortality

  1. By the end of A Streetcar Named Desire, what has died—both literally and figuratively?
  2. What is the most destructive force in this play?
  3. Did you notice that Stella gives birth at the same time that Stanley is raping Blanche? What’s going on there?
  4. What do you make of the final scene, where Stella sits with her baby (new life, right?) while Blanche is carted away?

Chew on This

Death is a unifying force in Streetcar; shared pain allows the characters to bond with one another.

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