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

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Stanley’s desire is to keep the status quo in his home, which allows him the freedom to express his masculinity. He enjoys his life in his New Orleans tenement, where he lives with his pregnant wife, Stella. When his regular poker games become loud and uncourteous, Stanley knows that Stella...

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Stanley’s desire is to keep the status quo in his home, which allows him the freedom to express his masculinity. He enjoys his life in his New Orleans tenement, where he lives with his pregnant wife, Stella. When his regular poker games become loud and uncourteous, Stanley knows that Stella will tolerate them in an attempt to keep her husband happy.

This balance is immediately damaged by the arrival of Stella’s older sister, Blanche DuBois, from the more rural town of Laurel, Mississippi. Stella and Blanche come from wealthy, high-class Southern society, and while Stella is ostensibly happy in the tenement, Blanche is not, and her presence immediately disrupts Stanley’s desire.

During the first poker party after her arrival, Blanche’s questions and interruptions make Stanley angry, and he drunkenly strikes Stella. After briefly retreating to the upstairs neighbor, Stella returns to Stanley, and the couple go to bed together. Blanche is horrified by the violence and cannot understand why Stella would remain with an abusive partner.

The longer Blanche stays with Stanley, the more the tension between the pair grows and the more cognizant Stanley becomes of this threat to his freedom and manhood. Stanley gathers gossip from Laurel and tries to scare Blanche by presenting this information to her. This results in an argument, but Stella goes into labor, which cuts the fight short.

While Stella is in labor, Stanley and Blanche are alone in the apartment, and after becoming angry with her again, Stanley rapes Blanche. This violent and vile action by Stanley is his way of asserting dominance over Blanche because she has threatened his desire. The rape ultimately sends Blanche into a complete mental breakdown, which forces her to leave the apartment to seek treatment, restoring Stanley’s desire.

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Desire in simplest terms is what we want. Stanley, a very down to earth person, wants two things: first, he wants to protect his masculinity and fragile ego against Blanche's assault on it. Second, he wants to punish Blanche for threatening his ego.

Stanley simply cannot understand Blanche, who he comes to see as pretentious phony who tries to put on airs and act as if she is a superior to him. In the end, Stanley simply can't tolerate this assault on his domestic supremacy and how it might be demeaning him in Stella's eyes. He is incapable of getting out of himself and seeing that Blanche is a hurting, fragile person only trying to hold on to a few last shreds of dignity and take a last shot at making a decent life for herself through marriage.

Stanley has a sexual desire for Blanche, but Stella is the one he loves and whose admiration he craves. Stanley's rape of Blanche is a classic rape in that it has very little to do with sex and everything to do with the desire to dominate, humiliate, and punish Blanche for upsetting his world. He is showing Blanche who is boss. Through the rape, and exposing Blanche's sordid background to Mitch, Stanley achieves his desire of reasserting control of his world by destroying the threat to it. He doesn't seem to fully register that "it" is a human being with her own desires.

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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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