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Illusion In "Death Of A Salesman"

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Autor:   •  November 3, 2010  •  338 Words (2 Pages)  •  965 Views

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What does Williams say about illusions and how are they important/dangerous to us?

Tennessee Williams' protagonist, Blanche Dubois, is a woman struggling to escape the faults of her past and secure a new life for herself. Her many mistakes have turned her life upside down and created a host of problems for her to deal with. To help her deal with the extreme direness of her existence, Blanche often creates fantasies and delusions to make her life seem more stable than it actually is. Although Blanche's ultimate mental deterioration is partially due to her adherence to her delusions, it seems it is also these fantasies that help Blanche cope with her desperate situations. It is in this way that Williams presents illusions as something that can be important in our lives. Sometimes experiences in life are too traumatic or emotionally consuming to deal with outright. By tricking ourselves into thinking that the situation is better or different, we find ourselves more ready to live with whatever problem that effects us.

However, as is the case with Blanche, illusions can potentially be destructive to our psyches as well. Hiding behind delusions to avoid our problems can make them all the more cataclysmal when we are forced to return to reality and face them. Throughout A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanche subdues the demons of her past by deceiving herself and those around her into thinking that they don't exist. This method of coping with her problems makes them even more disastrous when she is finally forced to face them. As an added blow to Blanche's mental stability, her spirit is destroyed by her savage rape at the hands of her brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski. This banishes the illusions she used to sustain her and sends her crashing back into the ruinous reality that is her life. Williams uses Blanche's broken spirit to show the dangers of living your life in delusion. Numbing the pains of reality


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