How are Stella, Stanley, Blanche, Eunice, and Steve interrelated in A Streetcar Named Desire?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Stella and Stanley are married. Eunice and Steve are married. This makes Blanche seem all the more the solitary and needy outsider. Eunice and Steve are friends and neighbors of Stella and Stanley. There are only two flats in this small building, upstairs and down. Eunice and Steve live upstairs. They are lower-class types like Stanley. All three of these characters are vulgar but honest and strong. Stanley and Steve are poker-playing and drinking buddies. Stella and Eunice are girlfriends who share their troubles with each other. Stella, like Blanche, comes from the upper-class Southern world represented by their family plantation Belle Reve, which has gone steadily downhill since the Civil War and has now been lost by Blanche because of an accumulation of debts and judgments. Unlike Blanche, Stella has accepted her descent into the vast expanse and depth of the lower class because of her love for Stanley and more recently because of the fact that she is pregnant. Blanche is horrified by the change in her sister and in her sister's living conditions; and she tries to turn Stella against Stanley. This is what creates the central conflict between the two very different characters--the tough, vulgar, animal-like Stanley Kowalski and the refined and aristocratic, although tarnished, Blanche DuBois. In the end Blanche loses the contest, as was bound to happen from the beginning. She is overwhelmed by the brutality of her antagonist.

Tennessee Williams' play was first produced in New York on December 3, 1947. Marlon Brando was cast as Stanley Kowalski, and he created a sensation in the role. He went on to become one of Hollywood's biggest stars. Karl Malden, who played Mitch, went on to have a highly successful film career and later in television. Both Marlon Brando and Karl Malden appeared in their original stage roles in the Hollywood adaptation of the play in 1951. 

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A Streetcar Named Desire

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