How are women portrayed as victims in A Streetcar Named Desire?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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All of the women in Tennessee Williams' play, A Streetcar Named Desire, can be seen as victims at one point or another.

Stella Kowalski

Stella is an abused woman. After a night of drinking, Stanley hits Stella. After escaping to Eunice's apartment, Stella comes back to Stanley. While this is the only time readers/viewers see Stanley abuse Stella, they can assume that he has done it before--Eunice tells Blanche that Stella and Stanley always make up.

Blanche du Bois

Blanche is victimized by two men: Stanley and Mitch. While Mitch does not actually rape her, he tries. Stanley, on the other hand, succeeds at raping Blanche. His physical strength over her is apparent. While some may think that Blanche had it coming (given her own behaviors), she is a victim.

Eunice

Like Stella, Eunice is the victim of domestic abuse. At one point in the play, she comes down from her flat yelling about Steve's abuse. Like the Kowalskis, one can assume that abuse is simply a part of the marriage.

Mexican Woman

While not playing a major role, the Mexican Woman could be seen as victim. Left to wander the streets selling flowers for the dead, one could assume that the woman is a victim of circumstance.

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