A Streetcar Named Desire

Staging and Dramatic Tension in A Streetcar Named Desire College

Tennessee Williams uses a variety of techniques to produce a strong sense of dramatic tension throughout A Streetcar Named Desire, as he mainly focuses on the interactions between characters to create an edgy mood. For example, Williams’ presentation of Blanche suggests she is actually the main cause of dramatic tension in the play – as her relationship with Stella and Stanley seems to be quite strained due to her own apprehensive nature. The use of setting as well as sound effects also contributes to the overall unnerving atmosphere, since these features both create an element of excitement and establish an aura of uneasiness. Consequently, the audience grows more aware of the overwrought tone that dominates the play, and becomes more intrigued by Williams’ effective use of dramatic staging.

In scene 1, Williams is immediately successful in building a tense atmosphere as he highlights Blanche’s tentativeness when arriving in New Orleans for the first time. When Blanche enters her sister’s flat, the stage directions picture her as sitting ‘very stiffly with her shoulders slightly hunched and her legs pressed close together’. The word ‘stiffly’ indicates how uncomfortable Blanche is and the fact that she is ‘hunched’ suggests...

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