What is desire for Stanley Kowalski in "A Streetcar Named Desire"?My question related to the movie "A Streetcar Named Desire"

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parkerlee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For Stanley, desire corresponds to the basic male sex drive, a purely physical instinct, coupled with the macho need to dominate. This 'urge to merge' has nothing to do with the notions of romance and love which Blanche entertains. 

Blanche's arrival throws Stanley momentarily off balance not only because her presence is an intrusion on the couple's privacy but also because Blanche challenges Stanley's worth as a satisfactory mate for Stella. Surely her sister has married "beneath her." Besides this, Blanche also dares to maintain the pretention of being a virtuous lady (as "white" as her name), whereas Stanley learns otherwise later on. He throws this fact back in her face, tears up her paper lantern as part of her dissimulation, but the worst is yet to come.  While Stella is in labour at hospital, he rapes Blanche - out of brute lust but also vengeance. This act brings Blanche down off her high horse and shows her to be the "easy lay" she really is.

The last scene is nevertheless redemptive. After Blanche's departure as the streetcar named "Desire" promptly comes round again, its bells tinkling, Stanley and Stella's couple seems to find its delicate balance again.

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A Streetcar Named Desire

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