How effectively does Williams present Tom Wingfield as a tragic hero, specifically in the first and final scene of the play?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Tennessee Williams's play, The Glass Menagerie, Tom Wingfield enters the scened described to us as a young man who is disdainful of his current situation. We see how Amanda calls him to dinner even though he is a grown man, and how he somewhat childishly responds with disgust in the same manner that a child would respond.

We know that Tom has a myriad of weakness that Williams does not hide from the reader. He is dissatisfied with his job and does not know what to do about it. He has not fully developed as a grown man, and this shows in his inability to take initiative and lead the life that he wants to lead. In all, Tom is basically a child trapped in an adult's body and at the mercy of an eccentric mother and a weak sister.

In the end of the play, Tom finally has had enough. He has obviously seen that is life his going nowhere if he stays where he is. It is better to take any road than to take no road at all. That is precisely what Tom ends up doing: Saving himself from a sinking situation where he would not end up anywhere.

Read the study guide:
The Glass Menagerie

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