Themes in Streetcar and Malfi

Tosin A
Mind Map by , created over 1 year ago

A level English Mind Map on Themes in Streetcar and Malfi, created by Tosin A on 04/06/2018.

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Tosin A
Created by Tosin A over 1 year ago
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Themes in Streetcar and Malfi
1 Desire and fate
1.1 Malfi
1.1.1 Fate seems more predominant than free will - seen with Bosola's inability control his own future
1.1.1.1 in William Painter's version of the story, Bosola murder Antonio with impunity - webster appears to be evoking divine providence in orer to damn the unworthy
1.1.2 Context - a major theological debate at the time within protestanism was wheeter a mans eternal destiy in either or heaven was predestined by God
1.1.2.1 "calvinistic theology...the world as seen by him, of its nature, is incurably corrupt" - David Cecil
1.2 Streetcar
1.2.1 streetcar going along the rails is seen as a symbol of the inescapability of fate
1.2.2 Stanely references fate when it comes his violence against Blanche - "we've had this...since the beginning"
1.2.2.1 Stella - meaning star - aligned to the stars, indicating fate
2 Death
2.1 Death is everywhere - Webster achieves a spectacular level of horrow in the way the characters are killed before - for good characters , it's a relief, forthe bad ones its a punishment
2.1.1 Duchess is subjected to torture and knows of her execution, ubt remains dignified; even asks for a violent death to put her to sleep
2.1.1.1 death is shown as a way to escape a life full of suffering
2.1.2 no matter how gruesome, death leads to "excellent company in the other world"
2.1.2.1 the duchess' death showcases the play's exploration of the permanence of death, as an echo rises form her grave in an attempt to tell antonio of her fate
2.1.3 cardinal's guilt leads to his death - after killing J, hes plagued by guilt
2.2 Streetcar
2.2.1 AO3 - the insistent reminders of death - in words and polka music - recall that the streecars wernt to Desire but also Cemeteries; williams' obsession with death colours his imagery
2.2.2 AO2 - Stanley is the opposite of death; he's the embodiment of life and vigour; only talks about death one in the final scene
2.2.2.1 stage directions say he's predigiously elated when he tells his friends that luck is believing you're lucky
2.2.3 blanche is surrounded by death; the death of her husband and the dealth of belle reve
2.2.3.1 gives gruesome detail about the death in belle reve - a woman is so swollen by disease that she had to be "burned like rubbish (pg 12)
2.2.3.1.1 blanche dreams of being bured "at sea sewn up in a clean white sack" (S11)
2.2.3.2 her husband's death haunts her; shown through plastic theatre with the shadows on the wall and the music
2.2.4 present from the outset with the mexican flower seller, selling flowers for the dead
3 Mental demise
3.1 Shown through plastic theatre which gets more overt as the play continues - her mental health getting worse
3.1.1 the varsouviana - reminds her of her guilt, provokes the feeling of loss and regret
3.1.2 The blue piano - represents 'the spirit of life' and reminds her of her husbands suicide and her subsequent mental demise; is loudest when blanche is sent to the asylum
3.1.3 shadows and light - shows blanches avoidance of the light (the truth) highlights her fragility
3.2 Seen with Ferdinand and his lycanthropia
3.2.1 prowling graveyards and digging up corpses, carrying a dead mans limb and howiing
3.2.2 shifts from verse to prose to show how his mind is common and how he;s been lowered in his madness
3.2.3 he's honest in his madness; A4S2 line 40 - admits his guilt and that he's going to hell
4 Class/social inequality
4.1 Streetcar
4.1.1 Stanley resents Blanche;s sense of superiority - refuses to show her courtesy; unable to match Blanche's wit bc of her class so resorts to violence
4.1.1.1 doesn't stand up for her when she enters a roomn
4.1.1.2 most resentful when it seems Stella's being influenced by Blanche, like in S8, when stella daresto tell him to clear his place on the table
4.1.2 blanche is classist; is disparaging about the size of Stella's home and expects her sister to have a maid
4.1.2.1 calls Stanley "common" "sub human" and "ape-like"
4.1.2.2 doesn't mind Mitch's class bc he's more sensitive than stanley; does occasionally mock his lack of education by using phrases he doesn't get - Rosenkavalier in S5
4.1.3 Stella doesn't really criticise stanley bc of his class, but does say he makes a "pig" of himself (S8
4.2 Malfi
4.2.1 the social mismatch between antonio and duchess is referred to a number of occasions
4.2.1.1 Duchess is attracted to antonio's virtue and not his social status - "this godly roof of yours is too low built"
4.2.2 Bosola - alhtough he rails against a system which denies him the status he believes he deserves - will also use prejudice if it suits him
4.2.2.1 Bosola laments the lack of meritocracy that exists within his society but applauds the duchess on preferring a man 'merely for worth'

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