Comparing Willy Loman and Blanche Dubois
The character Blanche in Tennessee Williams’s, A Streetcar Named Desire, is centered around fantasies and illusions. Blanche continuously, throws a smoke screen to hide who she really is. Her high maintenance, elegant clothing, and chic accessories contributes to appearing as if she is from the elite. However, in reality she has nothing and nowhere to go. Similarly, Willy in Arthur Miller’s, Death of a Salesman is centered around fantasies and illusions. Willy creates illusions to stand between him and his reality. He creates the illusion that his actions are for others, but his actions always boil down to his own motive to fulfill his fantasies. Therefore, Williams’s, A Streetcar Named Desire and Miller’s, Death of a Salesman are similar by the theme of illusion and unacceptance of reality.
Tennessee Williams develops the theme of illusion and unacceptance of reality in A Streetcar Named Desire through the character Blanche. For example, in A Streetcar Named Desire Blanche declares, “After all, a woman’s charm is fifty percent illusion” (scene 2). To clarify, Blanche is implying to the fact that for women to appear appealing they need to become artificial with accessories, and high Maintenace products to create an illusion. Blanche further develops the theme of illusions by displeasure towards bright light. For instance, in A Streetcar Named Desire Blanche emphasizes, “I can’t stand a naked light bulb, any more than I can a rude remark or a vulgar action” (scene 3). In other words, like a rude remark the light bulb creates the discomfort of reality. Blanche cannot accept that she is aging and, not as beautiful as she once was. Furthermore, she creates the illusion that she is young by dimming the light using her paper lantern. In addition, Williams continues to develop the theme through blanche by the song she sings through her continuous bathing. For example, in, A Streetcar Named Desire Blanche states, “It’s only a paper moon, just as phony as it can be–But it wouldn’t be make-believe If you believed in me!” (scene 7). That is to say, Blanche conveys her way of life in this song. She believes that if she continuously creates the fantasy of the life, she wants than one day it will become her reality. Furthermore, in A Streetcar Named Desire Blanche explains, “I can’t hear what you’re saying, and you talk so little that when you do say something, I don’t want to miss a single syllable of it… What am I looking around here for?” (scene 9). To illustrate, Blanche creates the illusion that she cannot hear Mitch, although she just does not want to accept the reality that Mitch doesn’t accept her worthy to bring home to his mother. Her sudden need for alcohol contributes to her uneasiness to accept reality. Williams leaves the reader with “Whoever you are—I have always depended on the kindness of strangers” (scene 11). To clarify, Blanche is creating the fantasy that the doctor is stranger that Is showing her kindness, but she fails to realize that he is leading towards the danger that is yet to come. Therefore, in A Streetcar Named Desire Willams conveys the theme of illusion and unacceptance of reality through the character Blanche.
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Similarly, Arthur Miller develops the theme of illusion and unacceptance of reality in Death of a Salesman through the character Willy. For example, “What’re you talking about? With scholarships to three universities they’re going to flunk him?” (act one). To explain, Willy created the illusion that he was able to authority to pull strings to get his son a passing grade. This illusion he created blindsided him and his son from the reality that Bernard was trying to address. Furthermore, in Death of a Salesman Willy states, “And when I saw that, I realized that selling was the greatest career a man could want. ’Cause what could be more satisfying than to be able to go, at the age of eighty-four, into twenty or thirty different cities, and pick up a phone, and be remembered and loved and helped by so many different people?” (act 2). In other words, Willy is creating the illusion that Bernards life is great because he loved and appreciated by many. However, Willy fails to see the reality that the man eighty-four still having to work which may not be as satisfying as it appears. Willy creates the illusion that his son Biff is a failure by his own doing and states, “No, you’re no good, you’re not good for anything” (act 2). It is important to realize that anything that goes against Willy’s un accepting to whatever ruins his fantasy. Willy blames Biff but, he is actually the reason why Biff cannot work under authority because of the self-pride he created. Miller continues to develop the theme of illusion and unacceptance of reality moving closer to Willy’s death. For instance, “I can see it like a diamond shining in the dark hard and rough, that I would not be another damned fool appointment.” (act 2). To illustrate, Willy is creating the illusion that his death would be a good thing because of the insurance money that will come from it. He is convincing himself that he is doing this for his family, but he is only doing it for him because he feels at least he can bring one diamond out of the jungle. Miller leaves the readers with “He’s a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back that’s an earthquake… A salesman is got to dream, boy” (act 2). Willy is compared to a sailor, like a sailor his dreams are far out there away from reality. Willy wanted to appear impressive and well liked and when people stop fulling this, he felt he was a failure and wroth more dead than alive. Therefore, in Death of a Salesman Miller conveys the theme of illusion and unacceptance of reality through the character Willy.
To conclude, Williams’s, A Streetcar Named Desire and Miller’s, Death of a Salesman are similar by the theme of illusion and unacceptance of reality. The Williams’s character Blanche and Miller’s character Willy, share a similar struggle with accepting reality. Blanche and Willy survived off of fantasy of what their life should be or could be. They needed people and to appear impressive. There needs to feel validated and failure to accept their lives for what they are, lead them both to their tragic endings.