How is Blanche a tragic heroine in A Streetcar Named Desire?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

A tragic hero or heroine evokes our pity or fear, according to Aristotle, because he or she suffers misfortune that seems cruel or disproportionate to what is deserved. The tragic hero/ine is a decent person to whom suffering comes, often because of a flaw.

Blanche's flaw is that she has lived too long in unreality—the world of the beautiful dreams of her faded (and now lost) southern home, aptly named "Belle Reve." She comes to New Orleans to live with her sister Stella, and to try, finally, as best she can, to face reality. She is older, she has been a prostitute, and now she needs to find a husband. She can no long afford to be picky, and is willing to marry "down," as her sister has done.

She finds a reasonable choice for a husband in the sweet, old-fashioned Mitch, and he is willing to marry her. Unfortunately, she has to continue to live in a certain realm of unreality to "catch" him, such as downplaying her age and leaving out the more sordid details of her past.

Her tragedy comes...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 552 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team