Sweet Bird of Youth

The role and contribution of Chance Wayne in Sweet Bird of Youth 12th Grade

Tennessee Williams’ protagonist; Chance Wayne, in the play Sweet Bird of Youth, is a persona that stimulates a perplexed, troubled kind of empathy in the reader. Chance’s constant battle with the passage of time, his demons, his past and failures as well as opposing forces such as Tom Junior and the constant rejection from the St. Cloud community, are all incitants that provoke both, a crooked sort of understanding in Chance’s decisions and actions, but also a deep disapproval of his vanity and a dream that has consumed him and made him oblivious to his obvious ethical and moral compromises. Even tough Williams himself, never felt that Chance was an effective character, the intense fluctuations between his peak-high vanity and pit-low self-pity and recognition of his own personal failures as well as the scarce instances of dignity and honesty reveal depth and a realistic quality to his character. Like many other characters in the play such as Heavenly or Boss Finely, and even the ironic name of the town where nothing good seems to happen; St. Cloud. Chance’s name carries a bitter sweet irony with it. From a young age, everyone expected him to rise up and be a star because of his looks, given his name its almost like he was...

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