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Play analysis

This is a play done by Tennessee Williams that depicts the historical and social setting that existed during the late 1930s as people tried to survive following the end of the great depression. The play is a classical tragedy with the characters in the play not fulfilling their wishes as numerous demands are placed on them. The playwright uses both monologues and conversations providing the audience with information on the characters. The protagonist serves as a substitute of the playwright since the play is partly an autobiography since he is also called Thomas and the play depicts the author's life while in St. Louis (Bloom 69).

Monologues are used by Tom when he introduces the play to the audience through a recollection of his memories while conversations are used within the play by the various characters in the play. The setting of the play is the Wingfield's apartment located in the lower middle class St. Louis. The play is acted in 1937 during the winter and spring. The play has been done in English. Of importance is the use of both the past and present tense in the play. The older Tom uses past tense when speaking about his memories whereas he speaks in the present tense when he is participating in the play.

Characters

There are five characters in this play namely Tom Wingfield, Amanda Wingfield, Laura Wingfield, Jim O'Connor, and Mr. Wingfield. The main character is Tom Wingfield who narrates as well as participates within the play. He first appears at the beginning of the play as an older self where he introduces the play explaining the historical and social setting of the play as well as the other characters in the play. He then participates in the play as a younger self. Mr. Wingfield is a minor actor whose presence is seen from the large portrait hanging on the wall and who is referred to by Amanda on several occasions.     

Plot

The play is a recollection of memories of the protagonist who narrates the past happenings of his life as well as participates in the play. He works at a shoe warehouse so as to support his family, sister, Laura and mother, Amanda but aspires to be a poet. He loathes his job at the shoe warehouse and turns to drinking and the movies. Mr. Wingfield is an absent father having run off several years ago (Siebold 73). Amanda Wingfield remembers her past as a successful belle when she had several male suitors and hopes that her daughter would attract male callers. Laura Wingfield is shy and physically handicapped which makes her mother disappointed as she is unable to attract male suitors as her mother wants.

Amanda decides it is best for Laura to get married and therefore embarks on selling magazine subscriptions to raise the money needed to help Laura attract suitable suitors. Tom selects Jim O'Connor who Laura had a crash on while in high school but does not ant to face as she is shy. They get to talk and Laura opens up to Jim and they dance together when Jim accidentally breaks Laura's unicorn. Jim apologizes to Laura and leaves to meet his fiancée. Amanda is furious at Tom who is not aware that Jim had a fiancée and goes to console Laura. Tom watches the two women from the fire escape who he leaves behind and travels far after being fired from his job.

Theme

The first theme in this play is the difficulty of acknowledging reality as the characters in the play prefer the comfort of their illusions and wishes that are farfetched and only exist in their imaginations. The second theme in the play is the power of memory as depicted by the protagonist in the play who uses his past memories as the basis of the whole play. The third theme is the unattainable true escape as the Wingfields are all confined into lives that they would wish not to live.   

Character analysis

The protagonist in this play is Tom Wingfield who plays two major roles in the play. He is the narrator of the play introducing the play to the audience through his recollections of past memories that form basis of understanding the play beforehand (Siebold 93). He is also a major character in the actual play interacting with the other characters on different occasions. He is depicted as a person living a contradicting life since he is portrayed as a lover of literature, poetry and dreams to escape from his current squalid life and live a better life while at the same time is concerned with his family, the wingfield household, and the job at the shoe warehouse, the very things that he wants to escape from.

He is also depicted as a cruel person who mistreats his mother and sister at times such as when he talks rudely at his mother, knocks down his sister's glass menagerie and eventually abandons them at the end of the play and goes to live far. At the same time, he cares for them as is seen at the end of the play when he states he has fond memories of his sister and feels guilty for leaving. The protagonist is motivated by his love for poetry and living a good life and works hard to support his family. He is also portrayed as a person who values his family and friend hence has some virtue in him and therefore has an erratic personality that is ever changing.

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