Tennessee Williams explores the theme of entrapment and flight by symbolism and motifs that depict a need for escape, relationships that painting entrapment of one another and conventions of a play, akin to surroundings, stage instructions, narrative and dialogue that heighten these concepts as a complete. The opening scene sketches out the surroundings and preliminary image of entrapment for all the characters – the flat which is ‘at all times burning with the sluggish implacable fires of human melancholy’.
As Williams describes, the flat is an emblem of melancholy, formulated by the period the play was set in, the 1930s – simply after the Wall St.
Crash, in which America suffered nice financial melancholy. The phrases “burning” and ‘fires’ hyperlink into the principal image that actually attaches itself to the flat: the fireplace escape. Williams describes it as ‘unintentional poetic reality’, telling us that this isn’t solely an escape from tangible fireplace, but in addition an escape from the ‘fires of human melancholy’ – not solely the financial melancholy of society, however in some ways the melancholy of the Wingfield household themselves.
As it’s the solely entrance into the Wingfield condo, it’s in essence, their solely escape. Williams explores this image additional by his character Tom, who often goes out to smoke on the fireplace escape in an try to flee the actuality of his residence. For instance, in Scene 5, Tom goes exterior to smoke and talks to the viewers about how the “world was ready for bombardments” – exhibiting Tom’s want for journey – foreshadowing his flight in Scene 7.
Reverse to this, exhibiting the distinction in character, Laura journeys up on the fireplace escape in Scene four. This exhibits how Laura is unable to actually escape the flat and, in some ways, doesn’t search flight, however is extra, damage when making an attempt to hunt flight. This hyperlinks into the symbolism of the damaged glass unicorn in Scene 7, in which Jim makes an attempt to free Laura from her shyness and peculiarity; nonetheless, in the finish, Jim shatters Laura emotionally, breaking off the horn of the unicorn.
Relating again to the period of melancholy and the concept of ‘escapism’, Tom, as Williams’ protagonist, explores the idea of escape in numerous varieties, akin to books, the cinema and his personal poetry. For instance, in Scene three, Amanda takes away Tom’s e-book by D. H. Lawrence, who was a up to date author of the time, that allowed Tom to flee into his tales. When Amanda took this away, it led to an argument between the two, emphasising the significance of escapism to Tom and the way, with out it, he couldn’t totally address the actuality of his scenario.
The concept of escaping to the cinema hyperlinks into the need for journey, that is additionally highlighted in Scene three, when Tom talks of going to ‘opium dens’ and becoming a member of the ‘Hogan Gang’ while ‘main a double-life’ and infrequently being referred to as ‘El Diablo’ – all of these concepts are impressed by movies and thru sarcastically describing how he’s all these, outlines the reality he feels his way of life is boring and with out journey – towards, exhibiting Tom in search of flight. Nevertheless, Tom wanting to hunt flight conflicts along with his consciousness that he’ll disrupt Amanda and Laura’s life by abandoning them.
That is evident in scene, by Williams’ use of the ‘magic coffin trick’ as an emblem of how Tom needs to be. While the magician is ready to escape from the coffin with out eradicating the nails, Tom is conscious of how he’s unable to flee from his household with out disrupting Laura or Amanda’s lives. Right here, the coffin in symbolic of Tom’s household and the warehouse – how he finds it to entrap him as if he have been in a coffin, giving adverse connotations of being suppressed and with out alternative. In some ways, nonetheless, this scene additionally explores how Tom is trapped emotionally by his take care of his household, notably Laura.
Tom confides in her his emotions and ideas of wanting to flee like the magician, exhibiting a level of closeness and belief; while, in normal, it’s his take care of his household, the incontrovertible fact that he’ll disrupt the nails of the coffin, that stops him from instantly retreating. In phrases of Laura herself, the glass menagerie in the central image to the play and represents, not solely the totally different features of Laura, that’s delicate and fragile, but in addition how Laura is trapped inside a cupboard – inside the fantasy world of glass figures.
This hyperlinks into the phrase ‘left on the shelf’, the concept that Laura, being half of the glass collections, has been left away from main the regular life of romance which she fantasises about with Jim, exhibiting how she has trapped herself on the shelf by being out of contact with actuality, trapped inside the cupboard. Linking on from the glass figures being symbolic of Laura, the delicacy might be seen as symbolic of her incapacity, one thing Laura additionally believes traps her from being ‘regular’.
Nevertheless, this hyperlinks onto the subsequent facet of exploring relationships, and in some ways Amanda is answerable for Laura’s perception that her incapacity entraps her. In Scene 2, Amanda’s entrapment of Laura turns into evident in three totally different lights, Laura’s concern of disappointing Amanda, Amanda’s overbearingness as a mother or father and the concept planted in Laura’s head by Amanda that her incapacity my hinder her in life. This turns into extra obvious when Laura states to her moms ‘I couldn’t face it’, referring to the reality the disappointment that may acquired if Laura had informed Amanda that she advert fairly the typewriting course.
This exhibits how Laura feels there’s a robust expectation from Amanda that she has to meet and this prevents her from performing her greatest. This expectation from Amanda hyperlinks into her being overbearing reasonably than empathetic with Laura. The clear instance in Scene 2 is that Amanda tried to ship Laura to the typewriting course, and when that failed, pushed even additional for Laura to discover a husband. This lack of empathy is demonstrated when Amanda refers to Laura throwing up at the typewriting course as ‘nervous indigestion’.
Referring to throwing up as a consequence of nerves as ‘indigestion’ underplays how Laura would have felt, suggesting it to be ridiculous. This additionally exhibits how Amanda’s lack of empathy would result in her disappointment in Laura that Laura ‘couldn’t face’, exhibiting how Amanda traps Laura by expectation. This concept that Laura is just too embarrassed to even inform her mom is emphasised when the legend ‘The Crust of Humility’ seems on the display screen – including a dramatic impact exhibiting Laura’s humility she feels in confessing to her mom that she threw up.
The final concept pertains to Laura having a cripple and the way Laura feels this may hinder right here in discovering a husband – ‘Laura [in a tone of frightened apology]: I’m – crippled! ’. The ‘frightened apology’ means that being ‘crippled’ is one thing Laura is ashamed of and damages her, not simply in the bodily sense of being crippled, however in the emotional sense. Being emotionally crippled hyperlinks again to throwing up at the typewriting course as a consequence of nerves;
Laura is beneath the impression that her cripple leads her to be at an obstacle and never ‘regular’, evoking a shyness in teams and ‘nervous indigestion’ – exhibiting how Laura is, in some ways, trapped by her personal ‘incapacity’ in a couple of sense. Nevertheless, this concept that Laura is crippled is overplayed by Amanda, who paradoxically highlights Laura’s cripple while making an attempt to desperately keep away from it, ‘you’re not crippled (… ) hardly noticeable, even! ’. By way of turning this into an exclamatory phrase does the reverse of what Amanda is making an attempt to realize; by declaring Laura does have a cripple she highlights the reality it exists.
For Laura, this is able to spotlight the incontrovertible fact that she crippled and moreover, add to her shyness which prevents her from really retreating. Total, regardless of Laura partly trapping herself by her personal emotional disabilities, it’s Amanda that enhances this and, in essence, traps Laura. Amanda being overbearing performs out in scene three, when Tom confronts her with the frustration he has felt from Amanda’s lack of empathy for him that results in her overbearingness. For instance, Amanda refuses to let Tom go to the motion pictures: ‘You’re going to hear! No extra insolence from you!
I’m at the finish of my persistence! ’ exhibiting how not solely Amanda tries to restrain Tom, but in addition talks right down to him like a toddler, with the use of fixed exclamatory phrases that give the impression of shouting. Tom eager to go to the cinema, as beforehand said, is an emblem of his escapism, due to this fact, Amanda wanting him to remain is her try to entrap him – speaking to him like a toddler exhibits the need and wish to manage him from in search of flight. This might be as a consequence of the reality Amanda sees Mr. Wingfield in Tom and suspects that Tom will quickly take his personal flight as effectively.
Amanda additional traps prime by inserting upon him the burden of the household, ‘Jeopardize the safety of us all? ’, which is what Tom was presumably making an attempt to flee from in the first place. Though being the ‘man of the household’ creates a pure function of duty that in some ways traps Tom from leaving, Amanda emphasises this extra by telling Tom that he’ll finish their safety if he leaves. By highlighting this level, though it’s supposed to maintain Tom at residence, in some ways, might push him additional away because it will increase the burden positioned on him to take care of the household.
Moreover, by stopping Tom from going to the cinemas, Amanda is denying Tom of escapism in motion pictures and this might be what additionally led to his eventual flight, together with the need to escape the dwelling of the Wingfields all collectively. Total, Tennessee Williams explores the concept of flight and entrapment by not solely symbols, however the relationships between every character, exhibiting how they’re entrapped, not solely by society, however by one another and themselves.