Blanche Dubious, appropriately dressed in white, is first introduced as a symbol of innocence and chastity. Aristocratic, refined, and sensitive, this delicate beauty has a moth-like appearance. She has come to New Orleans to seek refuge at the home of her sister Stella and her coarse Polish husband, Stanley. With her nervous and refined nature, Blanche is a clear misfit in the Kowalski’s apartment.
Blanche represents a deep-seated attachment to the past. She has lived her whole life in Laurel, a small southern town; her family had aristocratic roots and taught Blanche about some of the finer things in life. Unfortunately, she cannot cope with life outside Laurel. Her life is a lesson in how a single tragic event can ruin the future; her refusal to come out of the time warp and cope with the real world, makes her unrealistic and flighty. At the age of sixteen, she fell in love with, worshipped, and eloped with a sensitive boy. She believed that life with Allan was sheer bliss. Her faith is shattered when she discovers he is a bi-sexual degenerate. She is disgusted and expresses her disappointment in him. This prompts him to commit suicide. Blanche cannot get over this. She holds herself responsible for his untimely death. His death is soon followed by long vigils at the bedside of her dying relatives. She is forced to sell
Belle Reve, the family mansion, to pay for the many funeral expenses. She finds herself living at the second-rate Flamingo Hotel.
In an effort to escape the misery of her life in Laurel, Blanche drinks heavily and has meaningless affairs. She needs alcohol to stop the polka music, symbolic of Allan’s death, from running on in her head and to avoid the truth of her life. She surrenders her body to various strangers in an attempt to lose herself. She seduces young boys in memory of Allan. But her empty heart finds no peace, and her bad reputation ends her teaching career.
Blanche is an escapist who says, “I don’t want realism”. She hides from bright lights, just as she hides from the truth. Her delicate nature simply cannot bear the reality of present-day existence; she finds it too painful. She, therefore, convinces herself that she has remained pure because “inside, I never lied”. She knows that her soul, or inner self, remained uninvolved in her physical encounters.
The Real and Feigned Madness of Hamlet and Ophelia
In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, a kind of madness ultimately infects everyone, leading to an ending in which almost every major character is dead. Two of these maddened characters are Hamlet and Ophelia, who also share a love for each other. But though their irrational behavior is often similar and their fates alike, one is truly mad while the other is not.
Both Hamlet and Ophelia act very strangely. Hamlet, the prince of Denmark, insults everyone around him. He tells Ophelia he never loved her, calls her father a fishmonger, and in subtle ways calls his mother a whore and her new husband a murderer. And Hamlet himself is driven to acts of murder, from the unintentional stabbing of Polonius to the plotting that kills Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to the avenging murder of his uncle the king. Ophelia appear at the castle singing and giving out imaginary flowers. She seems not to even know her own brother.
The behavior of both Hamlet and Ophelia is a direct result of their fathers’ murders. Both love their fathers dearly and readily obey, even when their fathers’ orders go agains…