How Are Othello and Blanche Dubois Alienated in Their Societies?
‘Compare the ways in which alienation of individuals from their societies is presented in the two texts you have actually studied.’ George Bernard Shaw once said that ‘conflict is the essence of drama’, and if that holds true, then the plays Othello and A Streetcar Named Desire would thus be rife with drama, as conflict in inexorably presented by the two particular playwrights, Shakespeare and Williams, through the alienation of individuals from their societies.
This develops consistent conflict and friction within the plays as the unrelenting efforts of their ‘outsiders’ is constantly pressed back by an even higher force that declines them from being a part of society.
In each of these plays, there prevail literary devices that each playwright utilizes to bring about this alienation, with the most obvious of them being the juxtaposition of the characters to other characters and to their ‘newfound’ homelands, along with the images and words that the other characters utilize against them or to explain them (with diction and its different forms also being an overarching element that attains this result of alienation). In the extremely first scene of the play, Iago already plays on Othello’s ‘otherness’ towards Brabantio, actively making jabs at Othello’s race, providing him a reason to disapprove of his daughter’s brand-new marital relationship by painting a disgusting image of what Othello will do to his child in ‘you’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse’. The bestial images invoked by Iago is only further propagated throughout the play in which he continuously uses Othello’s skin-colour to offer others a factor to distrust him.
The most obvious method which the alienation of people exists in the 2 plays are the juxtaposition of the ‘outsider’ to their new surroundings, namely Othello the Moor from Othello and Blanche Dubois from Streetcar. For Othello, the Moor general is considered an outsider to everybody in Venice, where the play is set, simply due to the fact that he is of African descent whereas everybody else is a fair-skinned Venetian. Thus, every single character that he connects with paints a practically instant contrast as he does not share the exact same heritage as them.
The most essential contrasts that are portrayed through Othello are that in between his spouse, Desdemona and his equivalent and adversary, Iago. Similarly, in Tram, the alienation of Blanche Dubois, an ‘upper-class’ woman who originates from a wealthy background (Belle Reve) is presented through her sis Stella, and brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski as they are unable to accept the modifications that features her moving into their lives.
Stanley, whom Blanche considers to be a Polish immigrant (derogatively describing him as a ‘Polack’) has actually currently established a very comfy way of life with his wife and the introduction of Blanche threatens all of this, and so he ultimately chooses to eliminate her from the picture. This is presented in the contrast between these two polar opposites.
Where Stanley is happy to be in his own skin and confident of his physical attractiveness, ‘My clothing’re stickin’ to me. Do you mind if I make myself more comfortable? ‘, Blanche is shown to always be covered up and protected from natural light, as she hesitates that the people and business in her life (what she needs the most) will resent her when they see her genuine and natural appearances.
The extent to their distinctions run further than that though, as Stanley (together with the other characters who lives in the French Quarter) is utilized to being outspoken and blunt, speaking his mind towards whatever he sees fit, whereas Blanche is constantly concealing behind lies and falsifications, and it is essentially, in these disputes of interests and behaviors that society as a whole is usually not able to accept Blanche into their lives, because she is so various from them and is unable to adapt wholly to them.
As an offspring from the characters being not able to accept these people into their particular societies, it can be seen that the setting itself is another significant device in which the playwrights utilize to highlight the alienation of a private from its society. In Othello, Shakespeare utilizes the setting of Venice in Act 1 and after that later, Cyprus in the remainder of the play to again, demonstrate how Othello (at the time of the play) would never be accepted into such cultures.
To start with in Venice, there is an intrinsic xenophobia within the society that is not able to accept Othello into their personal lives, therefore revealing that Othello’s worth in society is absolutely nothing more than a tool, and that the respect that he is accorded with is only due to his contributions to the state, without which he is absolutely nothing. This can be seen from the treatment he gets from others, most notably the First Senator and the Duke in ‘Here comes Othello and the worthy Moor’ nd ‘Valiant Othello, we must straight employ you’ respectively. Although the noblemen speak with him with regard and self-respect, it is shown that they treat his ‘otherness’ as an intrinsic part of his character that they can not refrain from addressing him with, for that reason showing that Othello had actually always been thought about an outsider that only has a location in the Venetian society as somebody who can use service. In Act 2 onwards, the intro of a brand-new setting Cyprus reveals Othello’s further alienation from his society.
Ironically, Cyprus is a rather more ‘hostile’ environment in which most of his taking a trip buddies are unused to feel unpleasant in as it is far more ‘rough’ than genial Venice. It remains in Cyprus which Othello feels more in your home at, releasing his innate behavior such as latest thing he unleashes in Act 3 and the violence he commits onto Desdemona in Act 4, showing the contrast that he is a lot more comfy in this ‘foreign environment’ than the rest of his Venetians. Hence, the significant setting is another device that Shakespeare utilizes to provide the alienation of the specific Othello from the rest of his society.
Again, this holds true for A Tram Called Desire as the primary setting, ‘Elysian Fields’ is basically a confined home that Blanche is completely not able to adjust to, offered her background living in a huge plantation in the Southwest for most of her life. In Elysian Fields, Blanche is not just forced into a small two-room compound shared with what she feels are ‘foreigners’ above her but also, to share it with the extremely individual she is most unpleasant with, Stanley, and it is her constant efforts to change this environment to much better fit her that so infuriates Stanley in the first location, as it threatens his very way of living.
In the extremely introduction of Blanche in scene 1,’ [She touches her forehead shakily.] Stella, there’s– just 2 rooms?’ she currently expresses her dissatisfaction and disdain in putting up in such an environment, and thus it reveals that from the start, Williams had currently shown that Elysian Fields is a location that Blanche definitely does not belong in.
Moreover, Blanche constantly revels (or displays) to the other characters about her old house in Belle Reve, which literally suggests ‘stunning dream’, juxtaposes heavily with the confined and certainly uncomfortable Elysian Fields in which she presently lives in, and this inability to let go of the previous therefore shows that Blanche will never be able to fit into society, which is what Stanley will undoubtedly drive her out from. For that reason, the use of dramatic setting is also used in Streetcar to push away Blanche from the society.