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Expressionism in Tennessee Williams’ a Streetcar Named Desire

  • Date Submitted: 10/10/2011 06:43 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 51.5 
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In nineteen century the very nature of reality was questioned and the artists tried to portray the reality in their own ways. Realism claimed that whatever they are showing is the pure reality. This claim was rejected by naturalism which claimed that reality should be illustrated through forces in the environment and heritance. After World War I, expressionism rejected both realism and naturalism. Expressionists were obsessed with the disasters of the war; that is the reason for leaving the outside world to show the reality; in fact they hated the destruction of humanity which was occurring in the world. They preferred to return to the inner world of ma, to the mind of man, in order to portray the reality. They left rationalism and instead used the emotions and feelings of the characters and claimed that the reality can be expressed through the eyes of characters. According to Paul P. Reuben:

In expressionistic plays, the playwright's subjective sense of reality finds expression. The characters and the milieu may be realistic, but their presentation on stage is controlled by the writer's personal biases and inclinations. No longer a camera photograph, the stage could be highly elaborate or bare; the accompanying lighting, costumes, music, and scenery could be similarly non-realistic. More like a dream, expressionistic writing has no recognizable plot, conflicts, and character developments. However, the threads are still audience friendly; expressionism is not absurdist or an exercise in obscurity. (1)

Luiz Manoel da Silva Oliveira believes that Williams is interested to show reality in an unconventional way and he reaches pure reality through breaking all conventions of realism. Williams in his "production notes" to the Glass Menageries says:

Expressionism and all other unconventional techniques in drama have only one valid aim, and that is a closer approach to truth, (...) a more penetrating and vivid expression of things as they are (qtd. in da Silva...


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