To examine these characters, their backgrounds must first be uncovered. Blanche is a middle aged, former Southern Belle. She grew up in a dream world, on a beautiful country estate called Belle Reve. Her entire childhood was spent doing whatever it was that she pleased and being waited on by the family’s servants. She was never forced to work hard, unlike Stanley. He grew up in America: More than likely right there in Elysian Fields. He too enjoyed his childhood, although they were very different from each other. Stanley has had to work hard all of his life for things that he wanted or cared about.
These different upbringings and ideas on life create their personalities to clash continually. Blanche, although she portrays quite a self-controlled character, has endured some tough situations. She mentions in the play how while trying to hang on to Belle Reve and her childhood, she, “stayed and fought for it, bled for it, almost died for it. ” She also mentions her dead husband and how the music, especially the Varsouviana makes her reminisce on him and the homosexual situation. She tries to escape from the reality of these things by “misrepresenting things” to people and she does not “tell the truth.
One place that she finds this magic that she seeks for, is in the bedroom. Here, she can run things and does not have to worry about what is to come for her. She thrives on this “magic” although she eventually becomes insane. Unlike Blanche, Stanley has been portrayed as basic and primitive. Blanche even goes so far as to call him an “animal”, a “Polac” and Stella calls him a “pig”, a “swine”. Blanche also maintains her calling him simple, common, basic and he is always referred to in the text, with primary colors, which symbolizes this.
Although he is slightly upset about the loss of Belle Reve and, at first, refuses to admit it, his unhappiness is not due to the desire of magic; it is because that was his dream, his hope of the good life. He was curious of the superior life of a Southerner. Being from the South, Blanche has a different perception on how they should behave and how they should treat their ladies. As she passes through the kitchen, where Stanley and his friends are playing Polker, she says to the men, “Please don’t get up, I’m only passing through. ” Not one of those men would have even thought of it, as that was not their way of life.
As she got no attention out of the men this way, she results back to using her beauty and her body to obtain attention. “Yes Stella, I flirted with your husband! ” Even though she is quite the coquette, people maintain a fairly high-class image of her. “The Hotel Flamingo is not the type of establishment that I would dare to be seen in! ” There, rough men were found, not the Southern gentleman that she grew up with. Stanley does not conform to the type of man that Stella is accustomed to. He is very masculine, no a preppy Southern man. Blanche describes this by saying, “My sister has married a man. ”
Besides the obvious, she is also talking about how he is strong, rough and violent. Stanley displays this violence three main times during Blanche’s stay in Elysian Fields. He beats the pregnant Stella twice and then rapes Blanche at the end of the play. Although this is wrong, he is only reacting to his DNA. His actions are natural and even become almost habitual. He is very strong and shows his emotions when the little that upsets him occurs.
Blanche fears everything that could ruin her reputation, as that is what she is based on. She tries to hide her past and when people begin to find out, she admits to Stella that she, wasn’t so good, the last two years or so. ” She used her body to survive in the only way that she knew how and she wants to improve, to start fresh, but the fear of loosing her reputation unnerves her. In one situation she asks Stella, “Why are you looking at me like that? Is there something wrong with me? ” Because she is trying to impress people she hides behind a fai?? ade and this casts all of her flaws into the shadows. She is continually telling people, “Don’t turn on that light! ” To be seen directly in the light is one of her biggest fears.
She mentions how she is “fading now” and how “in my youth I excited some admiration. ” As so will not be seen as she has become. She is afraid of being seen as she really is. Stanley does not fear as much as Blanche does. He is afraid of only one thing; the thought of loosing Stella. He loves Stella unconditionally and even though it may seem that he would only miss her because he needs to be fed and tended to, it is more than that. It is true, as Blanche points out, that he is a Capricorn, usually known to need constant sex, but his relationship with Stella does go deeper than that, although not plainly seen at the first look.
Without her, He would be reduced to a working-class man with nothing to live for but himself and even though he beats her, he would be reduced to nothing if she ever left for good. He is afraid that Blanche is tearing them apart and that she might take Stella away from him. This is his one and only fear and it is powerful enough to lead him to do foolish things. These contrasts in the characters cause them to fight and quarrel through out the entire play, but they are each missing something in their personalities, which is actually overcompensated for by the other person. This is what causes the conflicts at the heart of the play.