Who is the strongest character in the play?
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The obvious answer, Tom, requires a certain definition of “strongest.” To be sure, Tom Wingfield is “strong” enough to break free of the stultifying Wingfield household, but his “courage” has taken a long time, and his retreat into movies was hardly “strong.” Also, like the father (who, it might be argued, was the strongest), Tom eventually deserts the family, even though Laura will never escape without his being there. One could make a case for the Gentleman Caller as the strongest character, since he resisted the opportunity to exploit Laura’s weakness. But the best argument for a character to rival Tom is the “jailer” herself, Amanda Wingfield – her unwavering devotion to the past, to the ways of her youth, however distasteful to the modern audience, and her maintaining the household even after being deserted by her husband, leaving her alone to raise two children, is a strength whose rarity is the very essence of the play. Someone should stage the play in a way that displays her strength and resolve; better still would be a one-woman show in which Amanda gets to tell her side of the story.
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