One important way in which the play defies the norms that guided traditional drama is that the primary male character exhibits immoral behavior and does not get punished for it. By contrast, in more conventional plays, when a major character does something that warrants punishment, that character suffers and sometimes even dies during the drama.
The character of Stanley is a complicated one. He is unrefined and very rough. These are probably traits that attract his wife to him. She and her sister are from a very different background compared to Stanley. They had a Southern upbringing. Yet, Stella finds Stanley’s raw, animalistic ways appealing. He is unlike anyone she has ever known. They have an extremely passionate relationship.
When Blanche moves in with Stella and Stanley, there is tremendous friction between Blanche and her sister’s husband. He sees through her coquettish Southern exterior and resents her apparent disdain of him and how she looks down on him. He also resents the lies she tells the world and tells herself. When Stella goes to the hospital to give birth, Stanley rapes Blanche.
Although the reader has known throughout the play that Stanley and Blanche do not like one another and that Stanley can be extremely physical and brutish, the scene is shocking and violent. Stanley takes pleasure in bringing Blanche down and tearing away the ladylike veneer that she tries to present to the world.
When Stella comes home from the hospital, Blanche tells her what Stanley did, but Stella chooses not to believe her sister. They have Blanche committed, and Stanley and Stella continue their lives together with their new baby. There is no apparent punishment for Stanley after what he has done, and this is different from more traditional drama.