The Birthday Party

Oppositions and Their Purpose in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and ‘The Birthday Party’ 12th Grade

Both Harold Pinter and Tennessee Williams depict vivid and intimidating oppositions in their characters Stanley Kowalski and Goldberg and McCann. The oppositions in both A Streetcar Named Desire and The Birthday Party strive to assert their power over their victims, Blanche DuBois and Stanley Webber, through the emergence of their pasts to the present, portrayed in the plays. In a Streetcar Named Desire, an increased knowledge of Blanche’s background inflicted on her by Stanley K creates a lucid portrayal of Blanche’s intrinsic torment. On the other hand, Pinter gives no greater insight into Stanley W’s character from the interrogation of Goldberg and McCann, and instead creates ambiguity as to who Stanley W, and the oppositions, actually are. This confusion in identity, present in both plays, becomes clearer in Streetcar Named Desire through Stanley K’s investigation, despite Stanley possessing less and more direct speech in comparison to Blanche, whereas Goldberg and McCann create more uncertainty in their heavy use of speech.

The oppositions in both The Birthday Party and A Streetcar Named Desire represent order, society and justice, oppressing the those who stray from societal progression. Despite this similarity, Williams...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1039 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 8013 literature essays, 2248 sample college application essays, 348 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in