A Streetcar Named Desire

Premeditated Rape in A Streetcar Named Desire College

The climax of Tennessee William’s A Streetcar Named Desire occurs in “Scene Ten,” when Stanley ultimately rapes Blanche, his sister-in-law. Many audiences and readers have debated whether or not this act was premeditated or done impulsively, as to some the play is laden with evidence and to others Stanley seems to make a snap decision. Many psychologists have been researching and studying what causes people to commit rape, and some have determined that premeditated rape stems from a combination of destructive human emotions. When analyzing previous psychological research alongside textual evidence from William’s A Streetcar Named Desire, it becomes apparent that Stanley’s rape of Blanche was premeditated and, ultimately influenced by his sexual attraction and rage.

For decades experts have been studying rape cases in order to determine why people rape, and many have found common elements, such as sexual attraction and rage. According to Groth in his 1977 article “Rape: Power, Anger, and Sexuality,” “Accounts from both offenders and victims of what occurs during a rape suggest that issues of power, anger, and sexuality are important in understanding the rapist's behavior” (1239). Essentially, Groth is arguing that issues of...

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