Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Donald Revell

Second Committee Member

Emily Setina

Third Committee Member

Christopher Decker

Fourth Committee Member

Steve Grubaugh

Number of Pages



This present thesis aims at deconstructing the main character of A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams: Blanche DuBois. Blanche’s journey is traced from Death to Desire and finally, to an ultimate envisioned destination, The Elysian Fields, which represents her physical and spiritual burial at sea, with her soul ultimately reaching heaven. Blanche’s most important quality - her ability to seduce audiences into perceiving the multifaceted layers of her feminine character all at once - marks her entry into Williams’s theatre of excess. Her theatricality springs precisely from her fascinating ability to reconstruct her persona in the course of the play, enacting the many possibilities contained in the word Woman. Excess becomes Blanche’s strategy for recreating possibilities and liberating conflicts. Blanche pours herself out with each page of the play so that every aspect of her identity is presented to the audience. Through the lens of death and desire, the many roles she embodies are analyzed one by one, remaining in strong connection with a close reading of the play’s lines. Blanche’s womanly essence is further captured by the intensity of female actresses who enacted her role on American as well as on the world stage. “A Streetcar Named Desire” revivals have always experimented with Blanche’s image, while also making full use of the cultural context of their time. Williams himself experienced struggle in sketching Blanche’s intense character. His unpublished manuscripts remain testimony of Blanche’s power as a female character, with a potential to embody the universal woman. Despite her physical rape, Blanche leaves the play and the stage triumphantly, hand in hand with the doctor, smiling, further dreaming of the unwashed grape which will bury her body at sea and transport her soul to heaven.

Keywords: death, desire, excess, manuscript, role, the Elysian Fields, theatricality, woman


death; desire; excess; theatricality; universal; woman


Arts and Humanities

File Format


File Size

0.655 MB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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