The Glass Menagerie is a Famous Play and has Many Different Significant Symbols

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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The Glass Menagerie is a famous play and has many different significant symbols. Objects are not the only symbols throughout the play. The roles that the characters play have a lot of significance as well. Roles in writing are very energetic pieces of setting that authors use to express their ideas which Williams did with the Wingfield family. In The Glass Menagerie Tennessee Williams employs many different significant symbols, such as, Laura’s glass collection, fire escape, and the glass unicorn, throughout the play that gives detail about certain characters and their emotions.

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Some of these symbols used in the play attempt to represent the characters flee from the reality and takes them to some sort of illusion.

The rolls of Amanda, Tom, and Laura in the Wingfield family all represent prominent stereotypes of humans and they are the highest symbols in the play. The most significant symbol in The Glass Menagerie is Laura’s animal glass collection which gives the play its title. The glass menagerie, or animal collection, is the central idea of this play and the title of the play gives us this piece of information. This collection employs her imaginative world. Each animal in Laura’s collection presents a number of aspects of her unique personality. She has withdrawn herself from reality. Laura cannot do anything independently and failed to go to law school. “His sister, Laura, is debilitated by shyness, forcing her to withdraw from reality and retreat into a fragile world of old phonograph records and glass animals” (“Gale, a Cengage Company”, 2009).

Laura is very shy and she escapes reality by turning to her glass collection of animals. The glass collection and the unicorn all represent Laura in some sort of way. She is very fragile almost like a thin piece of glass with no color until light is shone on it. Therefore that’s how the glass figurines represent her. “A fragile, unearthly prettiness has come out in Laura: she is like a piece of translucent glass touched by light, given a momentary radiance, not actual, not lasting” (Stage directions, Scene Six). She escapes the stresses of the world, pressure from her mother, and her social anxiety of interactions with people by retreating to her glass figurines and escapes to her own world. The fire escape is another significant symbol in the play. It is an escape from the family drama and an escape from reality. Tom removes himself from the figurative house flames and lights a fire of his own by stepping out there to smoke.

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The Glass Menagerie Is a Famous Play and Has Many Different Significant Symbols. (2021, Mar 24). Retrieved from