In what way is Sweet Bird of Youth about characters stymied by unfulfilled desire and personal failure?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sweet Bird of Youth by Tennessee Williams revolves around the themes of unfulfilled desire and personal failure.  The two major characters Chance and Princess Kosmonopolis both share personal stories about their lost dreams.  Chance has destroyed the connection that he had with his one true love Heavenly by giving her a venereal disease that ultimately results in her having a hysterectomy.  She says that her having to live life childless has robbed her of her youth; and as a result, Chance is left without much of his own youth.  His "acting" career has gone no where, so he has had to resort to acts of prostitution to make money.  No matter what Chance's good intentions are, he struggles to move past his lost dreams.

Similarly, Princess Kosmonopolis cannot move past her failures.  She was once a well known actress; however, her age has moved her out of the limelight.  Rather than accept this as the nature of the business in Hollywood, Princess Kosmonopolis tries to fight against the trend with little success.  She does manage to land a role, but her success is only temporary.  Chance and Princess Kosmonopolis find some sense of connection in their struggles with their lost hopes and dreams.